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AWESOMEAUSTRALIA

It's been a roller-coaster season for Australia this year.

Described back in March by Aidan O'Brien as the best he has ever trained, he was beaten in an unsatisfactory 2000 Guineas run at Newmarket before going on to win the English and Irish Derbies.

With that cloud of expectation forever looming over him wherever he goes, he was unsurprisingly the odds-on favourite for yesterday's Juddmonte International at York despite dropping back in trip to a mile and a quarter - and despite reservations from connections following the three-year-old's mid-season break.

The opposition on the track was formidable and there was opposition in the betting circles too.

All that opposition will have to retreat into a quiet corner now, though, as the awesome Australia defied fitness concerns, justified favouritism and comprehensively held a proper Group One field to claim the race by two lengths.

Afterwards, winning trainer Aidan O'Brien reiterated his feelings that the horse would come on for the run and said: "He was just ready to have a racecourse gallop. That's literally where he was at."

While the winning rider admitted that he expects Australia to be even more "explosive" next time out.

fresh

Joseph O'Brien said: "He normally relaxes very well but he was a little fresh in my hands and he got tired in the last half a furlong. He probably wasn't as explosive as he can be but maybe the next day."

O'Brien watched the race unfold from the rear of the field and turning into the straight he moved to the centre of the track and cruised past the field to eventually hold The Grey Gatsby in second with Telescope back in third.

Aidan O'Brien added: "With such prize money here, and it's such a prestigious race, it is very hard to go and gallop him at a racecourse rather than take him here.

"The impressive thing about this horse is that he has a lot of speed. He travelled very strong and Joseph nursed him down the straight and I couldn't be happier."

The powers-that-be behind the Irish Champions Weekend, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meeting and the Breeders' Cup will all have to form an orderly queue to try and convince O'Brien where to go next.

He said: "The lads will decide, but we had it in our head to come here and go to Leopardstown if everything went well."

O'Brien is a man of few words but he hasn't minced them in relation to Australia. He summed yesterday up: "You couldn't really ask for more."


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