Australia can prove an International star
Dual Derby winner Australia takes on his elders for the first time in the Group 1 Jummonte International Stakes at York today (3.40) and is fully expected to come through the test with flying colours.
The Aidan O’Brien trained colt ran a blinder to finish third in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, and relished the step up to 1m 4f when beating Kingston Hill by a 1 1/4 lengths in the Investec Derby at Epsom.
The son of Galileo travelled supremely well throughout the contest, and after cruising into contention two from home only had to be ridden out after taking up the running entering the final furlong to score with far more in hand than the winning margin suggests.
It was a performance which oozed class, and Australia then duly followed up in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh when cruising home to beat stable companion Kingfisher by 2 1/2 lengths without having to break sweat.
Australia now drops down in trip and races over 1m 2f for the first time, but I have always felt that it could well prove to be his optimum.
The horse travels so strongly and has a potent turn of foot that I can’t see the likes Mukhadram or Telescope being able to live with him.
That pair also have to give Australia 8lbs due to weight-for-age, and that looks an impossible task against a dual Derby winner rated the best O’Brien has ever trained.
I do feel, however, that Mukhadram is the most likely one for the forecast as 1m 2f trip looks far too short for Telescope.
The William Haggas trained five-year-old is a really tough and consistent sort who put in an ultra-game effort when landing the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and then ran a cracker when third to Taghrooda in the King George.
The son of Shamardal can always be relied up to run his race, and another plus is that Mukhadram has course and distance winning form to his name.