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I could be wrong but wasn’t O’Neill saying last year that he needed some cut in the ground?
I’m not sure O’Neill knows the horse as well as you may think. He’s been quoted plenty of times as saying that the horse shows nothing at home and often in those cases the Jockey would know best as they’re the ones riding them when it matters. McCoy may agree with O’Neill but I think they wanted a surefire victory last year, which would have been a lot more difficult in the sun alliance.
Don’t agree that he lacks pace, watch some of the footage of last years races, he way he makes up ground when asked is proof that he has a good turn of foot. Albeit, those are longer races where perhaps it’s easier to deceive the eye.