Australia jogs to Juddmonte victory
Australia confirmed what we have all known for sometime in today’s Juddmonte International Stakes at York. Aidan O’Brien’s charge is special, oozes class and there is not a horse around that can touch him at the moment.
All the talk during the week had been about Australia’s fitness having not been seen since cantering home in the Irish Derby 53 days ago. There was also, of course, the jockey situation with trainer’s son Joseph getting down below his minimum riding weight to 8st 12lbs in an attempt to continue his association with the brilliant son of Galileo.
There need not have been any worries on any front, as Joseph did the weight and Australia looked even stronger after his mid-season break, as the pair cruised to victory in the Group 1 contest, the highlight on day one of the prestigious Ebor meeting.
Aidan O’Brien’s second string Kingfisher was tasked with setting a decent pace for his star stablemate and under Seamie Heffernan, he certainly did that, as he set a ferocious gallop which would put paid to most of the field that were keen to track the early pace. Australia on the other hand, merely settled himself in rear and cruised along behind the field with only French Derby winner The Grey Gatsby for company.
The front running brigade would eventually start to falter and this in turn allowed Australia to cruise up on the outside full of running as they crossed the 2 furlong marker. The Grey Gatsby also began to stay on but it was too late, as Australia and Joseph cruised clear to win by a going away 2 lengths.
“He was a lot of kilos up on his Derby run so we were a little worried,” the winning trainer said afterwards. “He was 15 to 20 kilos heavier which is a lot of weight.
“I didn’t give much of a chance to mature because I was training him for the Classics but when he got the chance to mature this is what the result is. We always thought he had plenty of pace and he showed that today the way he travelled early in the race for such a settled horse.
“The plan was to come here and then go back to Leopardstown for the Irish Champions Stakes.”
Joseph added: “He was a little bit fresh early in the race but when I straightened him up and got him into a rhythm he stayed on well to the line. I had loads of horse under me and I didn’t really have a moments worry throughout.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
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