Investec Derby: All roads lead to Australia
Aidan O’Brien launches a four-pronged attack on today’s Investec Derby at Epsom (4.00), and Australia is taken to live up to the hype and land the champion Irish trainer his fifth win in the contest.
O’Brien also saddles Geoffrey Chaucer, Kingfisher and Orchestra, but has made no secret of how highly he rates number one hope Australia.
The Ballydoyle handler believes the 2000 Guineas third is “excpetional” and “a step up” from his four previous winners.
That is praise indeed, and the way in which Australia ran on strongly at the business end of affairs in the Guineas over a mile at Newmarket to go down by just 3/4 of a length to Night Of Wonder suggested he could be a potential star over middle distances.
The son of Galileo, whose sire won the Derby and his dam the Oaks, was forced to make his move to early at headquarters as the race split into two groups and there was plenty to like about the way he knuckled down and stuck to the task.
Given that he is bred to come into his own over today’s trip, it was a highly creditable effort from Australia to finish so close and the form of the race has a solid look to it.
The runner-up Kingman has since come out and romped to a facile success in the Irish 2000 Guineas, whilst the 10th home The Grey Gatsby has gone on to land the Dante Stakes at York and the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.
That is strong form, and makes Australia the one they all have to beat.
Stable companion Geoffrey Chaucer could well be the one to chase Australia home.
The colt looked an exciting prospect won both his starts as a juvenile in the manner of an above average sort, and will be ridden by Ryan Moore who partnered the O’Brien trained Ruler Of The World to Derby glory 12 months ago.
The son of Montjeu also shaped with bags of promise when an unlucky in-running third to Fascinating Rock in the Group 3 Derrinstown Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown on his seasonal reappearance, and has since repotedly been putting in some sparkling work on the gallops.
Kingston Hill and True Story also look big players.
The former is trained by Marco Botti and was unbeaten in three runs as a juvenile, running out the impressive winner of the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy on his final start.
The son of Mastercraftsman put in some good late work when staying on to finish a never nearer on eighth on his seasonal reappearance in the 2000 Guineas and looks sure to appreciate the step up to 1m 4f.
However, he finished behind Austrlia that day and there is no realistic reason why the form should be reversed.
True Story won the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket in runaway style before disappointing slightly when turned over at odds-on and finishing third in the Dante to The Grey Gatsby.
On a line through the winner, the son of Galileo has plenty to find on form to trouble Australia, but with three-times Derby winning jockey Kieren Fallon in the saddle the Saeed bin Suroor trained colt could go well at a decent price.