Australia in line for Derby double

Australia could have his next start in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh on June 28 following his heroics at Epsom on Saturday.

Australia in line for  Derby double

The regally-bred colt lived up to his star billing when claiming the Investec Derby by a length and a quarter from Kingston Hill, and Aidan O’Brien reports the son of Galileo to have come out of the Classic in good form.

O’Brien said: “He’s fine this morning, he was just out for a walk and he looks great.

“The Irish Derby would be a possibility, but it will be up to the lads (Coolmore) to decide.

“The ground will obviously be a factor and we will try not to run him on bad ground.”

Of his other runners, O’Brien said of Geoffrey Chaucer, who was last of 16: “Geoffrey Chaucer was badly hampered and after that Ryan (Moore) was very easy on him and let him canter home.

“Orchestra (12th) was very green and babyish and the occasion may have just got to him.

“Kingfisher (10th) ran very well and he won’t mind dropping back in trip.”

For his part, winning rider Joseph O’Brien would have no qualms about taking on the best over a mile once more with Australia, who was narrowly denied by Night Of Thunder and Kingman in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Night Of Thunder and subsequent Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Kingman look set to lock horns again in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

O’Brien junior said: “When we heard about the forecast for Saturday, we’d have had no qualms about taking him out and taking on the other two horses (Night Of Thunder and Kingman) in the St James’s Palace. I would have really fancied him to win.

“We’ll never know if I’d been drawn with the other horses whether I’d have beaten them or not (in the 2000 Guineas), but I certainly think I would.

“He’s got a serious amount of pace. We’ve made no secret of that. He definitely has seven-furlong pace – no doubt. I travelled as well as anything in the Guineas.

“I was cantering throughout the whole race yesterday and you can literally ride the horse any way. He’s very uncomplicated.”

The jockey admitted the rain-softened ground and the step up in trip were minor concerns prior to the premier Classic, but those worries soon evaporated once the stalls opened.

He said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling (to win the Derby). I only had two concerns really. One was the ground, but once we’d walked the track we were quite happy. A lot of the rain that had been forecast didn’t come.

“The second (concern) was the mile and a half. He shows a lot of speed and his run in the Guineas was a massive run in what was probably a very good Guineas.

“He’s got a very good attitude and relaxes well. He seemed to get the trip pretty well.”

Australia was O’Brien’s second Derby winner following the similarly impressive display of Camelot two years ago, a horse who had previously won the Guineas and came mighty close to completing the Triple Crown in the St Leger.

“They’re two very good horses. I suppose form-wise there was a bit more depth to the Derby this year,” said the rider.

“Camelot was a brilliant horse and it’s very hard to compare them, but Australia is a special horse."

More in this section

Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Home Delivery


Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox