Saturday 7 December 2019

Joseph O'Brien weighed in heavy after shock Australia defeat

The Grey Gatsby, with Ryan Moore up, on their way to winning the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes from Australia, with Joseph O'Brien up. Leopardstown Racecourse, Leopardstown, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
The Grey Gatsby, with Ryan Moore up, on their way to winning the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes from Australia, with Joseph O'Brien up. Leopardstown Racecourse, Leopardstown, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

The Grey Gatsby cause a major upset by beating hot favourite Australia in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown but the story has taken another twist.

O'Brien, who was criticised for taking a wide course throughout the race, weighed in at 9st 1lb after the race when the horse was due to carry 9st.

O’Brien’s overweight on Australia was the only overweight on the entire Leopardstown card. The jockey had weighed in at 9st after Tapestry finished unplaced in the Matron Stakes an hour before Australia's race.

Ryan Moore was one of those in no hurry during the early stages of the race on The Grey Gatsby , as Australia's pacemaker Kingfisher and the Hamdan Al Maktoum pair Alkasser and Mukhadram formed a leading pack.

As the field compacted, Joseph O'Brien was forced to go quite wide around the home bend on Australia, while Moore, who had been positioned last, saved ground further inside and used that momentum to propel him on to yet another major success. There was a huge distance back to Trading Leather in third.

The Grey Gatsby had been supplemented for Ireland's premier Flat event and was completing a memorable day for Mastercraftsman, who had also sired Ladbrokes St Leger hero Kingston Hill.

Moore said: "He ran a very good race in the Juddmonte, we knew Australia would be hard to beat but he had come on a little bit from York.

"The race set up nice for him and he really tries hard. He puts his head down and I think they pulled nine lengths clear, I'd say both horses have run very good races to pull that far clear.

"Every race you just have to see how it unfolds and it looked like they'd go fast.

"We planned to be patient and to have him where he's comfortable. The horse travels well, you give him a target and he'll chase it.

"When he won the Dante I really liked him, and when we went to France I thought he could run well but he surprised me with how well he won and I thought then this is a very good horse. He's proved it today."

Ryan said: "Ryan went out with a plan. He thought they would go very hard, so he was going to hang on to him.

"I said to him that was Plan A, but if he had to revert to Plan B or C, so be it. You don't tell Ryan Moore how to ride.

"He's a great racehorse and I'm very proud of him. I've felt all along that he's never had the credit he deserves and if he doesn't now it will be unbelievable. The horse has done his own talking

"Hughesie (Richard Hughes) said at York that Australia just got first run on him. On the day I don't think he would have beaten him, but Hughesie thought he would have been a lot closer and given him a harder race.

"Today we had him in a little bit better shape as we were always conscious of this race.

"Turning in I was thinking he had a lot of ground to make up, but in fairness to Ryan he was saving ground while Australia had to go wide.

"He made up the ground well and when he passed one and picked up, I thought he would go very close.

"He's a horse that has taken us on a great journey, both me and the owner.

"He'll stay in training next year and will get stronger and better. We'll hopefully have another great year.

"He won't go to the Arc. He could go to Ascot on Qipco day (Champion Stakes) and if he did that would be his last run.

"We'll start off next year in the Dubai Duty Free."

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