O'Brien in middle of Cape Blanco storm
AIDAN O'BRIEN was referred to the British Horseracing Authority in London yesterday under Rule B83 after he refused to have Cape Blanco trotted up in front of the BHA vet attending York following the colt's impressive Totesport Dante win.
The colt, which nicked a heel while working last Saturday, looked a little sore as he walked away from the winner's enclosure.
However, in order to clarify the situation and quash racecourse rumours that the Derby second favourite was lame, the stewards asked their vet to look at the colt.
However, Aidan O'Brien, who watched the race from Co Tipperary, sent instructions refusing permission.
In all probability the colt only aggravated the cut he sustained on Saturday, but because of his refusal to comply with the stewards' request O'Brien was referred to London.
Despite the controversy, Cape Blanco's impressive success led jockey Johnny Murtagh to declare that "the crisis is over."
He felt that Ballydoyle had replied to critics, who argued they may be lacking in the Classic department this year, having won the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial with Midas Touch, and now the Dante with the unbeaten Cape Blanco. Clearly, there is no crisis.
And the fact that they also have Derby favourite St Nicholas Abbey, which has drifted to 3/1, is a gauge as to the depth in their ranks at present.
"This horse (Cape Blanco) would be up to all the challenges of Epsom. He's got balance, speed, and the only thing I'm not 100pc sure about is stamina," Murtagh said.
Runner-up Workforce was never comfortable on the fast ground. Trainer Michael Stoute said: "He was hanging. The bit went through his mouth at the top of the straight, which didn't help. I think he could do with more give in the ground." (© Daily Telegraph, London)