Hot favourite Australia eased to victory in Saturday’s Irish Derby at Curragh, winning at a stroll on a day to remember for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Kingfisher and Orchestra coming in second and third, respectively, gave O’Brien the 1-2-3 on his 11th win at the Irish Derby, per William Hill Racing:
11th Derby for Aidan O'Brien as Australia leads home a Ballydoyle 1-2-3 - wonder if they'll be tempted to drop him back for the Irish Champ?— William Hill Racing (@WillHillRacing) June 28, 2014
Jockey Joseph O’Brien was confidence personified as he crossed the line on Australia, looking over his shoulder with around a furlong to go knowing that victory was his. Here are the final standings from the race:
|1||Australia||A P O'Brien||J P O'Brien||1-8|
|2||Kingfisher||A P O'Brien||C O'Donoghue||25-1|
|3||Orchestra||A P O'Brien||M Hussey||12-1|
|4||Ponfeigh||J M Oxx||D McDonogh||12-1|
|5||Fascinating Rock||D K Weld||P Smullen||8-1|
Australia came into the race with odds of 1-8 on finding a victory and lived up to his billing with a sensational ride after starting out behind Kingfisher (25-1) and Orchestra.
O’Brien kept his patience before making his move on the straight to devastating effect, winning by two-and-a-half lengths in front of the challengers.
It may well have been a different story if Epsom runner-up Kingston Hill and stable-mate Geoffrey Chaucer had been able to race, but as it were, Australia breezed through the five-horse race.
Kingston Hill was the second favourite heading into the race, and Channel 4 Racing revealed just how simple a task Australia faced after his withdrawal:
Kingston Hill has been withdrawn from the Irish Derby, apparently leaving Australia an open goal from one yard with the keeper snoozing— Channel 4 Racing (@Channel4Racing) June 28, 2014
Speaking after the victory, O’Brien revealed just how easy a race Australia had, saying that he didn’t need to do a lot to cross the line first, per BBC Sport: “It was an armchair ride. I just had to make sure I didn't fall off. We still haven't seen the best of this horse."
Though it was a shame to only see five horses in action in Curragh, take nothing away from Australia’s performance. The chestnut colt looked like he was just warming up on the way to victory, which is hardly a surprise given his brilliance.
Praise has been coming in for Australia ever since he started his career, and whispers of him being one of the best horses ever have been gaining volume over the last year.
However, Australia can cement his place on the list of the all-time greats if he races in the Arc and the Breeders’ Cup at the end of the season, where victories would be far from surprising.
O’Brien junior would have his work cut out a lot more than he did on Saturday if he’s in action in those races, but if Australia continues his form, then he won’t be stopped.
The Irish Champion Stakes is next up for O’Brien and Australia, though, and it looks as if the three-year-old is the perfect candidate for victory in the September race.