Australia fulfills Derby destiny in emphatic style
Australia fulfilled his destiny and lived up to the massive hype as he created history by giving Aidan O’Brien his third successive Investec Derby at Epsom. Bred with the Derby in mind, the son of Galileo out of the Oaks heroine Ouija Board came with a tall reputation and was hailed as the best he had ever trained by O’Brien, following his eye-catching third in the 2000 Guineas.
Despite doubts whether the deluge of rain earlier in the day would blunt his natural speed, Australia traveled supremely throughout the race, with jockey Joseph O’Brien content to hold a position on the outside of the field. The 11-8 market leader progressively moved into contention in the straight and found himself in front a furlong and a half out. Market rival Kingston Hill ran on strongly all the way to the line, the front two pulling well clear of the John Gosden trained Romsdal. Australia had too much class however and crossed the line a length and a quarter to the good, in what looked a strong renewal of the historic Group 1.
The winning jockey said: “I had a grand position and was going very easily coming down hill, nearly too easy. I was cantering all the way – I got there too soon, but I had to stay going when I did. Horses don’t come easier to ride than this fellow – he’s the best (I’ve ridden).”
Trainer Aidan O’Brien added: “We’re in a very privileged position to have the horses we have, so it’s thanks to everybody. There are so many people involved just to get him to this position. “Joseph had it in his mind where he wanted to be all the time, to keep it uncomplicated and safe and that is what he did – he gave him a beautiful ride.
“We said what we thought. Maybe it is best to say nothing, but we’ve always thought he was very special – the way he is bred makes him very special. The way he traveled through the race he must be very special.
“We’re going through a tricky time with our horses back home, they were very sick in the spring and they all had to get medicated. It was tricky training them after that, some were slower to respond.
“The lads (Coolmore) will speak about targets. He has a lot of options because he has a lot of pace, anything from a mile up.”
The winner was cut by most firms from a general 8/1 to a 5/1 chance for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
By Joseph Smyth
Photo – John Walton/EMPICS Sport
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