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Australia under siege

By Richard Forristal

Australia will strive to emulate the mighty Sea The Stars at York today by becoming the fifth Derby hero to claim the Juddmonte International in the same year.

But Mukhadram can cause an upset in the £500,000 showpiece.

After Roberto took the inaugural edition of the Knavesmire Group One 42 years ago, Troy (1979) was the only other horse to achieve the feat prior to Authorized in 2007.

John Oxx's equine superstar then followed up two years later, and Australia will be the first Epsom hero to try since.

Aidan O'Brien's brilliant son of Galileo enjoyed a bloodless stroll when completing a Classic double in the Irish Derby, having preceded Epsom with a cracking third in the 2,000 Guineas.

Australia is again odds-on to secure a historic victory on encountering his elders for a first time here, but we should certainly learn more about Joseph O'Brien's mount.

Many are of the view that 10 furlongs will be his optimum trip, though it is not one that this correspondent subscribes to at this stage. Of Australia's three rivals that hail from the same exalted Classic generation, The Grey Gatsby is of most interest.

While Kevin Ryan's colt got bogged down when tried over 12 furlongs in the Grand Prix de Paris, this is his favoured distance. Moreover, he claimed the Dante here en route to victory in the French Derby.

Telescope is also respected for the potent Micheal Stoute-Ryan Moore axis, but the King George runner-up is surely best over a mile and a half.

In contrast, Mukhadram is ideally suited to today's conditions, as evidenced by his last three wins coming over 10 furlongs.

Having been placed in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes and the Eclipse in 2013, Paul Hanagan then employed pace-setting tactics to great effect on him to plunder a Group Two here.

Mukhadram has continued his progression since, gaining a deserved Group One triumph courtesy of another excellent Hanagan steer in this year's Eclipse.

William Haggas opted to try the five-year-old over 12 furlongs in the King George, Mukhadram emerging with head held high in third behind Taghrooda.

Back over this trip, then, on the forecast decent ground and on a track that really suits his running style, Mukhadram is value for an upset at odds of as big as 6/1.

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