Thursday 26 April 2018

Australia rules

Australia is clear in the International
Australia is clear in the International

Australia stylishly added to his increasingly impressive roll of honour by winning the Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

Aidan O'Brien's dual Derby winner was tackling his elders for the first time but he oozed class throughout under the trainer's son Joseph.

Another of the three-year-olds in the line-up, French Derby winner The Grey Gatsby, gave valiant chase but was beaten by a comfortable two lengths by the 8-13 favourite.

Joseph O'Brien said: "He was a bit fresh, his first run back after a while, but it was never really in doubt."

Kingfisher, Australia's pacemaker, set a generous pace but initially it was not quick enough for Mukhadram or Arod, who both raced keenly. The race hotted up with three furlongs to run as all six horses spread across the track.

Telescope briefly hit the front for Ryan Moore, but Joseph O'Brien, who had sweated down to below 9st for the first time in two years, had yet to ask the son of Galileo and Ouija Board for his main effort. Once he did, the race was over. The Grey Gatsby further enhanced his reputation by beating some solid older horses, while Telescope finished outside the first two for the first time in his career.

Aidan O'Brien said: "We're delighted. I couldn't be happier. He was ready for a racecourse gallop, that was where he was at. There's such prize-money here and it's such a prestigious race that it's very hard to gallop him at a racecourse rather than bring him here.

"The impressive thing about this horse is that he has a lot of speed, he travels very strong. Joseph nursed him down the straight. The lads will decide what's next, but we had in our head to come here and then Leopardstown (Irish Champion Stakes, September 13) if everything went well."

The trainer was keen to praise the part his son has played in the Australia's development and explained why he allowed the jockey to sweat down to his minimum weight.

"This horse was trained hard for the Guineas at a time when a lot of our horses weren't right and he only just got beat, despite being drawn on the wrong side. Then he was trained hard for the Derby and the Irish Derby so the summer was the first break he had," said O'Brien snr.

"In the last three weeks he really started to thrive but he was very heavy. I was concerned, but Joseph knew my concerns.

"My heart starts beating at 4am every morning because of this horse. Everyone at Ballydoyle and Coolmore make this happen and I'm privileged to be part of it.

"I can't tell you the massive part Joseph plays. He can do 8st 12lb but we don't like him doing it. We're quite happy for him to put overweight up when he does. In the big days we want Joseph to be on and this is one of them. It was a big relief for me when Joseph was going to be on him because he knows every part of him."

Kevin Ryan was overjoyed with the runner-up, saying: "It was a fantastic run, Hughesie (Richard Hughes) gave him a fabulous ride. We've no excuses, the winner is a fabulous horse. The way he's finished it looks like he'll get a mile and a half, which opens up plenty of options, but we've no plans at this stage."

Ryan said he hopes The Grey Gatsby will stay in training next season.

Harry Herbert, racing manager for Telescope's owners, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, believes the colt was running over an inadequate trip.

He said: "He needs a mile and a half, it's as simple as that. He's run very well over a mile and a quarter behind two Derby winners. It's up to Sir Michael (Stoute) but I would have thought the Breeders' Cup would be the main objective now."

Press Association

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