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Australia eases for Derby amid soft ground fears

Australia has been pushed out to even money (from 4/6) with Coral for the Investec Derby, after trainer Aidan O’Brien stated that soft ground would not be ideal for the 2000 Guineas third.

The Ballydoyle handler, speaking at the ‘Breakfast with the Stars’ morning at the Surrey venue, said: “Australia didn’t do much after the Guineas but his work has gradually stepped up and everyone is happy with him now.

“We don’t take anything for granted ahead of any big race, we’re always hopeful and never confident. We were happy with the horse at Newmarket.

“We look forward to next week but we wouldn’t like the ground to be soft as he’s beautiful-moving horse.”

Australia, the stable’s number one hope following his run in the Guineas at Newmarket, will be partnered by the trainer’s son Joseph O’Brien and is set to be joined by three stable companions in the colts’ classic.

O’Brien senior said that Geoffrey Chaucer, Kingfisher and Orchestra were all likely to take their chance in the Group 1 contest.

Geoffrey Chaucer is the likely mount of Ryan Moore, who partnered the O’Brien trained Ruler Of The World to Derby glory 12 months ago.

The colt won both his starts as a juvenile ,and shaped with bags of promise when an unlucky in-running third to Fascinating Rock in the Group 3 Derrinstown Derby Trial Stakes At Leopardstown.

The son of Montjeu has reportedly been putting in some sparkling work on the gallops since that run and is the current 7/1 second favourite with Coral for the Derby.

Kingfisher, who got back to winning ways with a workmanlike succes in the Dee Stakes at Chester is a 33/1 chance with Coral, while Chester Vase winner Orchestra can be backed at 14/1.

O’Brien, who has who has saddled the winner of the Derby four times since 2001, is yet to confirm riding plans for either.