By Simon Jackson.
Australia’s price for the Irish Champion Stakes has been slashed to 2-7 from evens with Paddy Power after his impressive victory in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York.
The unbeaten son of 2001 Derby winner Galileo and 2004 Oaks heroine Ouija Board was too good for his five rivals as he stepped back in trip from a mile and a half to 10 furlongs.
The English and Irish Derby winner was patiently ridden by Joseph O’Brien. He challenged three furlongs out and ran on well to score by two lengths from French Derby winner the Grey Gatsby.
“He was ready for a racecourse gallop, that was where he was at,” trainer Aidan O’Brien said. “His weight rose alarmingly in the last three weeks but the lads at home were very happy. He was a lot of kilos up on his Derby run – he was 15-20 kilos heavier – and that’s a lot of weight.
“But Joseph said that leaving the paddock in the Derby he felt like he was a two or three-year-old, but today leaving he felt like a five-year-old. There’s such prize-money here and it’s such a prestigious race that it’s very hard to gallop him at a racecourse rather than bring him here.”
The Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on September 13 now appears to be the immediate target.
“We had in our head to come here and then Leopardstown if everything went well,” the trainer added.
Australia’s part-owner Michael Tabor later said that the Champion Stakes was likely to be his next start.
“You go for a Derby because there’s nothing like a Derby, but the truth of matter is taking him to a mile and a quarter shows the speed he’s got, and Joseph said you take him back to a mile and it would be perfect for him,” Tabor said, Sky Sports report.
“You’d have to say he has to be up there with the very best. In a perfect world he’ll go for Leopardstown and maybe the English Champion. Maybe one more after that, I don’t think so, but we’ll play out one race at a time.”
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