Mukhadram has the tools to conquer Australia at York
Published 20/08/2014 | 02:30
Australia will strive to emulate the mighty Sea The Stars at York this afternoon by becoming the fifth Derby hero to claim the Juddmonte International in the same year.
After Roberto took the inaugural edition of the Knavesmire Group One 42 years ago, Troy (1979) was the only other horse to achieve the feat prior to Authorized in 2007. John Oxx's equine superstar then followed up two years later, and Australia will be the first Epsom hero to try since.
Aidan O'Brien's brilliant son of Galileo enjoyed a bloodless stroll when completing a Classic double in the Irish Derby, having preceded Epsom with a cracking third in the 2,000 Guineas.
Sadly, his Curragh outing told us nothing new about the horse. Australia is again odds-on to secure a historic victory on encountering his elders for a first time here, but we should certainly learn more about Joseph O'Brien's mount.
Many are of the view that 10 furlongs will be his optimum trip, though it is not one that this correspondent subscribes to at this stage. Of Australia's three rivals that hail from the same exalted Classic generation today, The Grey Gatsby is of most interest.
While Kevin Ryan's colt got bogged down when tried over 12 furlongs in the Grand Prix de Paris, this is his favoured distance. Moreover, he claimed the Dante here en route to victory in the French Derby.
Telescope is also respected for the potent Micheal Stoute-Ryan Moore axis, but the King George runner-up is surely best over a mile and a half.
In contrast, Mukhadram is ideally suited to today's conditions, as evidenced by his last three wins coming over 10 furlongs.
Having been placed in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes and the Eclipse in 2013, Paul Hanagan then employed pace-setting tactics to great effect on him to plunder a Group Two here. Mukhadram has continued his progression since, gaining a deserved Group One triumph courtesy of another excellent Hanagan steer in this year's Eclipse.
William Haggas opted to try the five-year-old over 12 furlongs in the King George, and Hanagan had Telescope and Taghrooda in a spot of bother two furlongs down. In the end, Mukhadram simply didn't get home as well as those two, but he still emerged with his head held high in third.
Back over this trip, then, on the forecast decent ground and on a track that really suits his running style, Mukhadram is value for an upset at odds of as big as 6/1.
Ballydoyle's Galway scorer Jamaica is fancied in today's Acomb, and the facile Tipperary winner Granddukeoftuscany is an intriguing contender for the elite firm in the Great Voltigeur.
However, the Derby runner-up and Eclipse fourth Kingston Hill is banker material there back over 12 furlongs under Moore, with Tony Martin's Spacious Sky trusted to take the two-mile handicap for the raiders under Kieren Fallon. A luckless fifth in Galway's amateur riders' showpiece, he is a lively proposition off the same mark now.