Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Super Australia's day

Wizard of Oz: Australia, with Joseph O'Brien in the saddle, after winning the Group One Juddmonte International at York
Wizard of Oz: Australia, with Joseph O'Brien in the saddle, after winning the Group One Juddmonte International at York

A reputation can be made easily, but real achievements have to be earned on the track.

Australia proved his merit as a Coolmore champion in definitive fashion by winning the Juddmonte International yesterday.

While hardly short on accolades, and with English and Irish Derby wins already under his belt, the chestnut has still been burdened with the mantle of trainer Aidan O'Brien's "best ever" Flat horse since the latter part of his two-year-old days.

Dropping back to a mile and a quarter, Australia not only brushed aside the French Derby winner The Grey Gatsby by two lengths, but left experienced Group One-class elders Telescope and Mukhadram treading water on the exacting plain of the Knavesmire.

Joseph O'Brien – down to his absolute minimum weight of 8st 12lb – tried to keep a lid on the 8-13 favourite at the rear of the field before powering away inside the final furlong.

"He was ready for a racecourse gallop, that was where he was at," said O'Brien snr.

"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. 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."

O'Brien leaves decisions on planning to owners Coolmore, but said: "We had in our head to come here and then Leopardstown (Irish Champion Stakes, September 13) if everything went well."

O'Brien praised his son, saying: "I can't tell you the massive part Joseph plays. He can do 8st 12lb but we don't like him doing it. In the big days we want Joseph to be on and this is one of them."

The man himself said: "He was a bit fresh but it was never really in doubt."

The exceptional Taghrooda should complement her breathtaking Ascot triumph in this afternoon's Darley Yorkshire Oaks.

In an era of some truly magnificent Flat champions like Australia, Sea The Stars, Frankel and Kingman, she is being given the opportunity to fulfil her immense potential, with a tilt at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe her long-term objective.

The presence of Ballydoyle's Ryan Moore-ridden Tapestry is an intriguing dimension.

Aidan O'Brien is also set to saddle Venus De Milo, while Ralph Beckett's Talent drops in trip.

Plenty of these would be worthy winners of the £330,000 showpiece contest.

But It will be a monumental shock if Taghrooda doesn't enhance her soaring status under Paul Hanagan.

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