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Across the Pond

Australia impresses with Epsom victory

Australia Epsom Derby 615 X 400
Photo: Harris Equine Photography
Standing on the track after this year's renewal of The Derby felt special; what had we just witnessed? Aidan O'Brien had just completed a previously unimaginable feat of training the winner of the race for three consecutive years, the fourth consecutive for the Coolmore ownership too, and frighteningly Australia could just be the best of them all.

Sired by Galileo, the winner of this race in 2001, and out of the 2004 Oaks winner Ouija Board, the hype surrounding the regally-bred Australia was high with any failure to reign supreme on this day sure to be seen as a disappointment, particularly after the comments of O'Brien Snr marking Australia down as the best flat horse he has ever trained. They needn't have worried.

As the field turned into the undulating stretch that Epsom provides, Australia was beginning to travel notably well behind Roger Varian's Kingston Hill, and as Joseph O'Brien began to ask his charge to deliver his challenge the response seemed to be immediate.

However, Kingston Hill himself - on ground which was less than ideal - continued to find for jockey Andrea Atzeni, plugging on determinedly with the chances of glory in this iconic Classic within their grasp, only for Australia to blow past in the final few furlongs and claim the glory he had been bred to grab with both hands.

"He's a very special horse with class and speed," said Aidan O'Brien. "A long time ago we thought he was very special and we wanted to be here with him, but you can never be sure because there are so many variables. This horse has kept standing up to the mark and has never disappointed [us] - it's great to be here."

At the tender age of 21, Joseph O'Brien was winning his second Derby, and his twentieth Group/Grade I, an exceptional feat for a jockey so young and a set of numbers which those often willing to criticise O'Brien would do well to remember. Regally-bred, just like his equine partner for this success, time will tell whether O'Brien will be able to continue his battle with his weight to ensure this magical journey of success continues for many years to come, but there is no doubting the determined nature of the jockey who continues to win almost every other challenge he has taken on thus far.

As O'Brien continues to flourish, one other young jockey continues his rapid meteoric rise towards the top, and Oisin Murphy's performance in the saddle to ride 100-1 longshot Red Galileo into fifth place was nothing short of exceptional.

Speaking to Horse Racing Nation after the race, Murphy was notably delighted and buzzing from his ride, citing the 'unbelievable ride' that Red Galileo gave him as the jockey gave him 'every time in the world to find his stride and comfortably get into a smooth rhythm'. 

Australia may be the horse and the champion for today, but there is no doubting that Murphy may yet be the champion of the future, but for now the tantalising proposition of Australia re-engaging with Kingston Hill at the Curragh for the Irish Derby is one mouthwatering possibility which cannot come soon enough.


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Older Comments about Australia impresses with Epsom victory...

Does it need to be said that this is amazing breeding? Good for Ouija Board!
Right now Galileo is still his best Derby winner. He needs to win the Irish Derby, and King George to be in the same league as his Sire. Wonderful colt none the less, and looking forward to seeing him progress off this win.

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