Sunday 18 March 2018

Oxx wary of Australia challenge


John Oxx accepts Investec Derby favourite Australia is "tailor-made" to handle the demands of Epsom on June 7.

The Currabeg handler has won the Derby twice with Sinndar (2000) and Sea The Stars (2009) and this year saddles Ebanoran.

The Aga Khan's colt was first past the post in the Derrinstown Derby Trial at Leopardstown but subsequently demoted into second place.

Oxx is cautiously optimistic about his chances of adding to his Classic haul at Epsom, but accepts the Aidan O'Brien-trained Australia, third in the Newmarket Guineas, is the one to beat.

He told the Irish Times: "The Guineas is traditionally always the best trial and the favourite looks tailor-made for the job at Epsom.

"Apart from the Guineas, it's hard to know which was the best trial, or if they were any good at all.

"But the two trials for a Derby horse in Ireland are the Ballysax and the Derrinstown and I think the Derrinstown was a good race this year.

"It's true the owner isn't into running no-hopers, and neither am I.

"We think this is a colt worth sending to Epsom. He's very well bred.

"We can't be sure about him staying the mile and a half but that isn't the worst complaint.

"You would rather that than going there with an out-and-out stayer.

"Epsom is a test of stamina and speed."

Press Association

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