Gatsby guns down Australia
There was silence, shocked faces and utter disbelieve at Leopardstown, as Australia, the supposedly unbeatable superstar, was downed by Kevin Ryan’s The Grey Gatsby in the Irish Champion Stakes. Australia, the double Derby winner, the Juddmonte International winner and ‘the best that Aidan O’Brien has ever trained’ was sent off the 3/10 favourite for one of the World’s highest rated race but suffered the same fate as his illustrious parents who were strangely also beaten in the Leopardstown showpiece.
The Grey Gatsby was beaten 2 lengths by Australia in the Juddmonte last time but had shown himself to be a top quality performer beforehand with victories in the Dante and the French Derby. Despite this, there was not many who gave the striking grey much hope of reversing form with the great Australia. Thanks though to messy race tactically and of course another World class ride by Ryan Moore, he was able to get up to deny Aidan O’Brien’s charge on the line.
With two pace makers in the field, Alkasser and Kingfisher, there was always going to be a break neck pace from the gates. That proved to be the case as the former set a furious gallop in the early stages under Pat Smullen, while Australia and The Grey Gatsby were both happy to let the others get on with it up front and settled in rear, with Australia travelling wide under Joseph O’Brien.
The tempo picked up again approaching the turn in but while Joseph made a move out very wide, Ryan Moore was calm and collected and let his rival get a few lengths lead coming to the 2 pole. Australia went clear and seemed to have put the race to bed but Moore galvanised his charge and began to wear down the favourite, eventually getting up on the line to win by just a neck. The pair had pulled well clear of Trading Leather who finished third.
A slightly emotional trainer Kevin Ryan said: “Ryan went out with a plan and he said they were going to go very hard and he was going to hang on to him. You don’t tell Ryan Moore how to ride a racehorse, he was fantastic.
“He is a great horse and I am very proud of him. I felt all along that the horse has never got the credit he has deserved. The horse has done his own talking and I don’t have to talk anymore. It’s a fantastic day.”
Moore added: “He is a very good horse and he was very impressive in France. He ran a very good race at York and this race worked out well. He settled nicely. They went a good gallop but he found plenty for me in the end.
“He proved today that he is a very good horse and he tries extremely hard. We thought we would struggle to beat him (Australia) today and we needed things to drop right and they did.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
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