O'Brien to use the blinkers for Cup; RACING.
Winner of three Group Ones since moving to O'Brien's Ballydoyle stables in Ireland, he has met with defeat in his last two races, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp and the Champion Stakes at Ascot.
But O'Brien believes he could run a huge race at Churchill Downs if he adapts to the dirt surface, in a race where he will be the only European challenger.
"The reason he is wearing blinkers is because of the way he has run in his last three starts, especially when he won the Irish Champion Stakes when he appeared just to do enough at the end," said O'Brien (pictured below).
"We saw in Leopardstown that he was going to the front and waiting and he was just too relaxed.
"He was drawn badly in the Arc and it was hard for Seamus (Heffernan) to keep him from getting too far back. Otherwise he might have been closer.
"Then he ran a great race at Ascot, but the strange thing was when he got home he hadn't lost a single kilo. We think he is overdoing the relaxing bit now.
"We put blinkers on him the other day and Joseph (O'Brien) rode him in a canter and he said the horse felt more attentive with them on.
"If he handles the surface the blinkers might make a big difference at the end."
Connections of Strong Suit, Sea Moon and Elusive Kate were left unhappy when track officials at Churchill Downs refused to let them use the turf course for training exercise yesterday morning.
Heavy rain had set in by the time the trio, trained Richard Hannon, Sir Michael Stoute and John Gosden respectively, were due to go on to the turf track at 9.30am local time.
However, they were told that owing to the level of rainfall they would not be permitted to go on to the grass. As they made their way back to the stables, Hannon jnr said of Mile contender Strong Suit: "We had arranged to work Strong Suit around two bends on the turf course and this was our one and only chance to do it before the big day."