Dual Derby winner Australia
takes on elders for the first time Aug. 20 in the richest race ever staged at York, the £800,000 Juddmonte International Stakes (Eng-I).
Coolmore and partners' 3-year-old son of Galileo, trained by Aidan O'Brien, posted classic victories in the June 6 Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-I) and the June 28 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) at the Curragh and has since been freshened.
"Australia had a break after the Curragh, and everything has gone well with him since then," O'Brien said of the colt who was narrowly defeated by Night of Thunder
in the QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) prior to his classic double. "He has done very well and is just ready to start back again.
"I suppose, because he has done so well, we are a little bit worried about his fitness. But really, when you give a horse a break—especially a 3-year-old—going into the autumn, you want him to do well. He did well, he did very well.
"Obviously, he is a good bit heavier than he was in the Derbys and I suppose that just makes you a little bit more anxious. So, really, he is just ready to go away and obviously we would imagine that he would come on a lot from the run."
The 1 1/4 miles of the Juddmonte International, which drew six entrants, looks to be the ideal distance for the colt.
"We always felt this was his trip. He is a very strong traveler; he has a high cruising pace," O'Brien said.
Joining Australia in the race is stablemate Kingfisher
, another son of Galileo who won the Dee Stakes at Chester in May and was runner-up to him in the Irish Derby after checking in 10th at Epsom.
"Kingfisher is in good form," O'Brien said. "He will be very happy to roll along if nothing else does. He ran in the two Derbys with him (Australia) and is a very tough, sound and genuine horse that doesn't mind bowling along.
"He is obviously running on his merits—he is a Dee Stakes winner, so he is a very legitimate horse. But like I said, he doesn't mind bowling along; he'd be very happy just to roll along, nice and sensible. And I think that will be good for everybody if that is the case.
"Maybe somebody else will be happy to do it. But he is happy to do it if nobody is. It will just be, hopefully, a nicely run race."
Also entered is Sheikh Hamdan's 2014 Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) runner-up Mukhadram
. The 5-year-old by Shamardal
was a two-length winner of the July 7 Coral-Eclipse (gr. I) at Sandown before finishing third behind Taghrooda
and Juddmonte International hopeful Telescope
in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) July 26 at Ascot.
Frank Gillespie's French classic winner The Grey Gatsby
, a son of Mastercraftsman
who took the Dante Stakes (Eng-I) May 15 at York, could also be a factor. He comes into Wednesday's race seeking to rebound from a sixth-place finish in the July 13 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-I), in which he was beaten 10 1/2 lengths after capturing the Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-I, French Derby) by three lengths June 1 at Chantilly.
Telescope, a 4-year-old son of Galileo campaigned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing-Wavertree, will bid for a top-level breakthrough. He romped to a seven-length triumph at Royal Ascot in the June 20 Hardwicke Stakes (Eng-II) going 1 1/2 miles before his runner-up finish in the King George.
Qatar Racing's Arod
, fourth to Australia in the Epsom Derby, was a nine-length winner July 17 at Leicester last time out and will try to win his first stakes. The son of Teofilo
was a close second to The Grey Gatsby in the Dante Stakes.
Juddmonte International (Eng-I, race 4, approximate post time 10:40 a.m. EDT), Aug. 20, 3YO&Up, 1 1/4 miles, York
No. PP. Horse (Where Bred) (Sire), Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. 4. Mukhadram (GB) (Shamardal), P. Hanagan, 132, W. Haggas
2. 5. Telescope (IRE) (Galileo), R. Moore, 132, M. Stoute
3. 3. Arod (IRE) (Teofilo), J. Spencer, 124, P. Chapple-Hyam
4. 6. Australia (GB) (Galileo), J. O'Brien, 124, A. O'Brien
5. 1. Kingfisher (IRE) (Galileo), J. Heffernan, 124, A. O'Brien
6. 2. The Grey Gatsby (IRE) (Mastercraftsman), R. Hughes, 124, K. Ryan