Australia Being Pointed for Irish Derby

Australia Being Pointed for Irish Derby
Photo: Trevor Jones
Epsom Derby winner Australia
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Australia, Coolmore and partners' regally bred Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-I) victor, could try to become the 17th horse to complete the Epsom and Irish Derby (Ire-I) double June 28 at the Curragh.
 
While the 1 1/2-mile race is the plan for the colt, turf conditions will dictate if he starts in the race, trainer Aidan O'Brien said.
 
The son of Coolmore's leading European sire Galileo out of United States and European champion Ouija Board won the June 7 Epsom Derby by 1 1/4 lengths from Kingston Hill, who also is aiming for the Irish equivalent.
 
"Australia is in terrific form, and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is the plan for him," O'Brien said June 19. "He is a good-ground horse, so he would not want testing conditions. A final decision on his participation will be taken nearer the time."
 
An Irish-trained team for the Irish classic is also likely to feature the Dermot Weld-trained Fascinating Rock, eighth at Epsom, and the John Oxx-trained Ponfeigh, who will make a huge step up after winning each of his two starts this year, both at one mile.
 
"The plan is to run Ponfeigh in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby," Oxx said of Thomas Barr's son of Teofilo. "He is a horse we have always liked, and that is why we have kept him in the race. The horse had a bit of a setback in April, but he has gotten over that now.
 
"He has had two quick runs but he appears to have taken those races well. Ponfeigh has a terrific turn of foot, and hopefully the step up in trip won't catch him out. The race is worth a lot of money, and it is great to have a horse good enough to run in it."
 
Trainer Roger Varian said Kingston Hill is doing well ahead of the Irish Derby. "The horse could not be in better shape, and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby remains the plan," he said.

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