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Australia turns focus to landing Irish glory

By Martin Kelly

The Irish Derby is next on Australia's hit list after the son of Galileo was the third consecutive winner of the Epsom Classic for Ballydoyle and the fourth in a row for his Coolmore owners.

In this, neither Godolphin nor the rising powers of Qatar seem able to lay a glove on them.

The victory over Kingston Hill did not live up to the hype, but trainer Aidan O'Brien isn't in a hurry to drop him back to 10 furlongs, indicating the Irish Derby as a possible next target.

Yet the winning jockey, Joseph O'Brien, even suggested a rematch with the 2,000 Guineas principals Night Of Thunder and Kingman over a mile. All seems possible.

Hailed as potentially the best he had trained by the Ballydoyle handler – a big statement considering the likes of Galileo, Giant's Causeway, High Chaparral and Dylan Thomas have all benefited from his tutelage – the striking chestnut beat second-favourite Kingston Hill by a length and a quarter.

When your parents are both Classic winners (Galileo and Ouija Board) there is only really one race you are born to win but if Joseph O'Brien felt any nerves riding the 11-8 jolly with his reputation on the line, he did not show it.

If anything went wrong it was that he came down the famous hill too well as he found himself challenging Kingston Hill probably a little earlier than he would have liked.

O'Brien was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief on greeting his winner, and the quietly spoken man from Tipperary continues to rewrite the record books.

Asked what makes Australia so special, he said: "It's very simple, his pace.

"He has terrible pace, terrible class, he's able to go from A to B so easy, which is so unique for a horse that's bred the way he is.

"Everyone knew every sinew in his body was going to be tested here, he was going to have to quicken and have to travel. What makes him different is his natural pace."

Reflecting on his achievement, never done before in 235 years of the race and his fifth Derby overall, he said: "It's special but we are lucky to have such well-bred horses to handle, that's the reality of it. When you have Galileos bred the way they are, everything is possible.

"We thought this horse was very special from the first day he worked. Maybe it is best to say nothing, but we've always thought he was very special."

Roger Varian was delighted with Kingston Hill and nominated the Irish Derby as his next target, while John Gosden will point the third home Romsdal towards the St Leger at Doncaster.

As Gosden suggested, this year's 2000 Guineas looks a vintage renewal. He said "Yet again the Guineas form has come to the fore, it was obviously a very strong race. Kingman, The Grey Gatsby and now Australia have won the last three Classics since running at Newmarket."

Cirrus Des Aigles won his third Group One in succession but his victory was overshadowed when Christophe Soumillon pulled him up immediately after the line having felt him go lame.

Initial diagnosis was that it was nothing too serious and that remained the hope as he returned home.

During the race he held off Flintshire for a comfortable win.

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