I HAVE been trying to find a way to demonstrate what an enormous feat this is, in a manner that will make readers stop and take a moment to ponder in awe.

Last weekend, at the Curragh, Aidan O’Brien saddled the 400th Group or Grade 1 winner of his training career, comprising 22 such victories over jumps and 378 on the level. From That’s My Man carrying the colours of J.P. McManus to success in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse on December 3rd, 1995, with Charlie Swan in the saddle, to Ryan Moore’s Tattersalls Gold Cup triumph on Luxembourg, Aidan has saddled, on average, a top-level winner every 25 days.

Think about that. It is nothing short of phenomenal, and yet it hardly managed to create a ripple among sports editors anywhere. We have come to accept that Aidan will deliver, given the strength of his firepower, but I would argue that it is deserving of greater recognition, and celebration. After all, look at the number of European football managers, with some of the world’s greatest players, who fail to win any trophies.

A year after That’s My Man took the Royal Bond, Aidan won the race again with another McManus runner, Istabraq. That legendary hurdler, still hale and hearty at Martinstown, went on to win a total of 14 Grade 1 races, His run of success at this level came just a few months after Aidan sent out Desert King to become his first Group 1 winner on the flat, landing the Aga Khan Studs National Stakes at the Curragh. Luxembourg was his 96th winner at the same track.

Five horses trained at Ballydoyle by Aidan have won seven times at Group or Grade 1 level; Highland Reel, Magical, Minding, Rock Of Gibraltar and Yeats, with Dylan Thomas, Giant’s Causeway, High Chaparral and St Nicholas Abbey being successful six times.

There was an added significance to Luxembourg’s Group 1 win on Sunday, as it was the 111th for Aidan ridden by Ryan Moore, and this put him one ahead of the combined total of the next two most successful riders for the stable, Michael Kinane with 62 and Johnny Murtagh with 48.

Finally, Aidan has saddled Group/Grade 1 winners in nine countries – Ireland, England, France, the USA, Hong Kong, Italy, Canada, Australia and the UAE. Combining his achievements under both codes, he has plundered 174 wins at the highest level in England, and taken 129 of our races here. France has yielded 55 Group 1 wins.

Now, Aidan starts the journey towards 500.