Australia over-hyped, but don’t be surprised if he wins the Derby by a street

Australia has to do more than just win the Epsom Derby on June 7, he has to virtually bolt in if Aidan O’Brien’s blushes are to be saved.

Australia over-hyped, but don’t be surprised if he wins the Derby by a  street

O'Brien certainly appears to have been in full flow at that Investec Derby promotion at Ballydoyle on Monday and didn't half supply a hostage or two to fortune.

In this case, of course, the problem, should Australia get beaten or win in a manner regarded as less than impressive, will amount to something that would be very much superficial, after all it's only horseracing!

Anyway, having read much of what came out of Ballydoyle, and looked at some of the headings on the accompanying copy, I thought at first O’Brien was putting Australia forward as the greatest horse he has ever had.

On closer examination, however, it seems that was not the case and, instead, he believes Australia to be the best he has ever trained for the Epsom Derby.

The Racing Post, for instance, quoted him as saying that Australia is a “step up” from any other colt he has trained for Britain's premier flat race.

That is still some bold statement from a man who has already had four Epsom Derby winners, Galileo, High Chaparral, Camelot and Ruler Of The World.

It will be no surprise at all if Australia proves far superior to both Camelot and Ruler Of The World. All the racecourse evidence tells us they were good horses, no more.

But if Australia is a “step up” from both Galileo and High Chaparral then he is, barring something unforeseen happening, like being brought down, or whatever, literally a certainty.

When Galileo won in 2001, he blew us all away, with a powerful, surging run for Mick Kinane to score by a deeply impressive three and a half lengths.

He went on to win the Irish Derby by four lengths, before beating Fantastic Light comfortably in the King George at Ascot.

Galileo, who never raced beyond three, then went under by a head to Fantastic Light in a thrilling Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and was clearly over the top when sixth to Tiznow in the Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park.

High Chaparral beat Hawk Wing by two lengths at Epsom, followed by taking the Irish Derby, was third in the ‘Arc at Longchamp and ended his three-year-old career by winning the Breeders' Cup at Arlington Park.

He was also a high-class four-year-old, landing the Irish Champion Stakes, again taking third in the ‘Arc and ending his days on the racecourse by dead-heating with a horse called Johar to win another Breeders' Cup, at Santa Anita.

I mean, right now, Australia has yet to win a Group 1, or, indeed, a Group 2. But that only reveals part of the story.

The real story of Australia is that he has never even run in a Group 2 and in just one Group 1, the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

What the 2000 Guineas told is that he is just half a length and a head short of being the best three-year-old in these islands-over a mile.

And that from a horse guaranteed to come into his own over much further and who is likely to get a mile and a half standing on his head.

Hostage to fortune, egg on the face for dear old Aidan? Probably not, chances are Australia will win the Epsom Derby by a street. What hype?

Last week we went on here about the possibility of Willie Mullins' Arctic Fire winning the Galway Hurdle.

But could we possibly be looking in the wrong direction?

It just puzzled me that Mullins asked Arctic Fire to reappear, only 11 days after he won at the Punchestown festival, to go 14 furlongs, on soft ground, on the flat at Killarney on Tuesday. Arctic Fire, of course, got chinned in the final stride by Shu Lewis.

Mullins rarely does anything without thinking it through, so there must have been some method to his Killarney madness!

Remember a horse of Mullins' called Alonso? Well, he hasn't been seen since running a cracker in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse on December 1.

He took fourth spot that day behind The Tullow Tank, Renetti and Arctic Fire, with subsequent Cheltenham hero Very Wood in fifth.

Well Alonso, who recently went up 4lbs, despite not leaving his box in the meantime, is currently rated 8lbs below Arctic Fire. We await developments.

If Joe Murphy, who is a long way from being slow, can get Daredevil Day to win again this season it will be some achievement.

The horse went up 13lbs for scoring at Sligo and then defied the massive rise in the weights when overcoming trouble in running to go in again at Killarney on Tuesday night.

He eventually got there by three parts of a length at Killarney and was undoubtedly value for a bit more.

But the handicapper has had another belt at Daredevil Day and pushed him up by a further 12lbs to a mark of 94.

This game is also about opinion, but if that's not an overreaction, I'll go back on the drink!

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