Australia Easy Irish Derby Victor
With primary challenger Kingston Hill a late scratch, Epsom Derby (Eng-I) winner Australia scored the easiest of victories in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) June 28 at the Curragh.
The regally bred son of Galileo out of U.S. and European champion Ouija Board took charge in the final furlong from pacesetting stablemates Kingfisher and Orchestra and coasted across the finish line in a 2 1/2-length triumph while under a hand ride from Joseph O'Brien.
Kingfisher spurted out to lead Orchestra from the start, setting a steady tempo as Australia settled about four lengths back. Orchestra drew even with Kingfisher with three furlongs but Australia effortlessly rolled past for in the final furlong for the facile win.
Kingfisher held on for second in the five-horse field and Orchestra checked in third. Ponfeigh and Fascinating Rock completed the order of finish.
Australia covered 1 1/2 miles on firm turf in 2:33.19, taking his record to 4-1-1 from six career starts.
Kingston Hill, runner-up in the Epsom Derby, was scratched the morning of the race after trainer Roger Varian walked the course and determined the ground conditions too fast for the colt. Also scratched was Australia's stablemate Geoffrey Chaucer, who was coughing.
Australia, who won at 1-8 odds, gave trainer O'Brien an 11th win in the Irish classic and becomes the 17th horse to complete the Derby double, most recently accomplished by O'Brien-trained Camelot in 2012.
"It was an armchair ride. I just had to make sure I didn't fall off," said jockey O'Brien told the BBC after his ride aboard Australia, his fifth in an Irish classic.
"We still haven't seen the best of this horse."
Australia is campaigned by Coolmore partners Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, along with Malaysian architect Teo Ah Khing, designer of Meydan's grandstand. He was bred in Great Britain by Lord Derby's Stanley Estate Co., which campagined 2004 Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) winner Ouija Board.
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