Relentless Aidan O’Brien on Derby march again

Boasting a CV featuring six Investec Derby victories would be good enough for many - that is unless you are on the brink of claiming a record-equalling seventh and go by the name of Aidan O’Brien.

With his hunger and desire to succeed in the Epsom Classic as strong now as it was when winning for the first time with Galileo in 2001, the chances of O’Brien becoming the fourth trainer in history to record a magnificent seven are strong.

Remarkably, it was through a 40-1 outsider in Wings Of Eagles that the master of Ballydoyle struck 12 months ago, but this year he has 2000 Guineas hero and ante-post favourite Saxon Warrior heading his powerful squad.

O’Brien said: “The same tension is still there and the nervousness for everybody, as it only comes once a year. Complacency is the one thing that will come and get you one day so we do our best every second of every day.

“With Dr Vincent O’Brien, everything was geared towards Epsom - it was the most important race in the world, so everything is Epsom, Epsom, Epsom.

“It’s a fickle time and every year it brings different challenges as you have different horses and different climates. No year is ever the same.

“This year has been different for us our horses. They are coming along slowly, but we just had to be careful when we were a little bit behind that we didn’t force them into anything and maybe make it to their second run and not progress to their third run.

“We never look at what has happened in the past, as the only good the past is for us is experience for us to learn going forward. It’s all about now and tomorrow.

“We don’t take anything for granted. It’s important we have results for everybody.”

Like most years, O’Brien will be responsible for more than one runner, but for most the focus will be on Saxon Warrior, who will be bidding to claim a third Group One victory and stretch his unbeaten record to five races.

O’Brien said: “Saxon Warrior has a very strong blend of Danehill, Galileo and Deep Impact in him. Those three strong traits make him a horse that we haven’t had before, so he is very different.

“He is big and powerful. He is built like a miler, but we always thought he would stay. He went like a horse who would love going middle distances. You can see all of those strong traits in him, so he is very interesting.”

He added: “Saxon Warrior has been around our Tattenham Corner at home probably 40 times. The timeline between his first and second run is nice. The only difference is it’s half a mile further on a different track. If they can handle the dip in Newmarket like he did they should cope with the contours at Epsom.”

Having seen Camelot denied by three-quarters of a length in his bid to claim the Triple Crown in the 2012 St Leger, the 48-year-old believes the son of Deep Impact, should he land the Derby, has every chance of becoming the first horse since Nijinsky in 1970 to achieve such a feat.

He said: “We were delighted with Camelot, having won a 2000 Guineas and a Derby. We didn’t win at Doncaster, but with all those things, we analyse what went wrong and if a horse did come along to put us in that position again, then we would be delighted.

“We were always hopeful after Camelot that perhaps another horse would come along who could run in all three races and that was part of the reason that Saxon Warrior started in the 2000 Guineas.

“We could have gone to the Dante with him, but we thought if there was a chance we had a Triple Crown horse, he was going to be the horse, so that’s why we started him off at Newmarket.”

“The way it worked out, we were delighted so we are still alive and kicking after the first round.

“We would be delighted if he could win the Triple Crown, but it is a tough thing to do to win those three races.”



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