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O'Brien Says "Never" to Team Tactics
Ballydoyle maestro Aidan O'Brien, whose stable could have as many as seven representatives in Saturday's Gr1 Epsom Derby, has told theguardian.com that team tactics are never considered during pre-race preparation. "I can guarantee you, every horse runs on their merits to do their very best and there would never be a plan to do this or do that to any other horse," O'Brien stated. The champion trainer was responding to concerns that have reportedly been expressed by the connections of the two Derby favourites, English King and Kameko, ahead of Saturday's blue-riband event. The publicly-aired concerns, perhaps designed to ensure Stewards are aware of any possibility of potential team strategy, follow Siskin's victory in the Gr1 Irish Guineas. The race favourite was forced to skate on thin ice with officialdom in order to extricate himself from being boxed in on the rail during the final 300m (see below). Despite the perception by some of potential team collusion in the race – the winner's barrier draw didn't help his predicament – Siskin's outspoken trainer Ger Lyons said, "All is fair in love and war. It's a big boys' sport and you just put on your big boy pants and get out there and do the job."