By Simon Jackson.
The two principals in the Investec Derby are set to clash at the Curragh on Saturday after news that Australia and Kingston Hill are confirmed runners in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
Bookmakers are anticipating a similar result in the Irish equivalent, where the Aidan O’Brien-trained Australia heads the betting at 4-11 from Roger Varian’s Kingston Hill (7-2), who Australia beat into second place at Epsom.
The son of Galileo finished a length and a quarter ahead of his rival after a patient ride from trainer’s Joseph O’Brien, racing in the midfield for the bulk of the journey before challenging two furlongs out. He quickened well and was ultimately too strong Kingston Hill who fought hard to the line; the manner of the victory impressing the winning jockey who describes Australia as ‘the best’.
“The race pretty much went as planned,” Joseph O’Brien said.
“He’s travelled so well during the race and just idled a bit when he hit the front.
“I went wide throughout as I didn’t want to break his stride and just wanted to give him a nice passage through the race.
“We’ve made no secret about what we think about this horse and I knew I was on the best one so just wanted to give him a chance to do himself justice.
“I think 10 furlongs will be his best trip. There’s no real pressure from my father as we normally come to the same conclusion about how we’re going to ride the horses.
“For a lot of the way, I had a grand position, and I was going very easy coming down the hill, nearly a shade too easy. I just got nudged out coming to the bend – I just had to keep waiting, get him balanced and straightened up. I got there a mile too soon but I had to stay going where I was getting.
“They went a nice even pace and I was cantering the whole way. I got there too soon and he had a good look but I had to stay going.
“Horses don’t come any easier to ride than this fellow. He’s the best.”
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