Australia poised to complete Derby double
Australia is set to face just six rivals in today’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh (5.30), and the impressive winner of the Investec Derby looks a worthy long odds-on favourite to complete the double.
The Aidan O’Brien trained colt ran a blinder to finish third in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, and relished the step up to 1m 4f when beating Kingston Hill by a 1 1/4 lengths at Epsom.
The son of Galileo travelled supremely well throughout the contest, and after cruising into contention two from home only had to be ridden out after taking up the running entering the final furlong to score with far more in hand than the winning margin suggests.
It was a performance which oozed class, and Australia is impossible to oppose as he bids to provide O’Brien with his 11th winner of the Group 1 contest.
O’Brien is also represented by Geoffrey Chaucer, Kingfisher and Orchestra but the race looks a straight rematch between Australia and Kingston Hill.
The Roger Varian trained colt and is a clear second favourite, but connections have stated they would like to see some rain ahead of the big race and a decision on his participation is likely to be delayed until the last possible moment.
Trainer Dermot Weld is represented by Derrinstown Derby Trial winner Fascinating Rock, who finished eighth at Epsom, but would also like to see an ease in the ground.
Weld, who is bidding for his third winner in the race following the successes of Zagreb and Grey Swallow in 1997 and 2004 respectively, reports Fascinating Rock to be in “great form” and believes the son of Fastnet Rock is capable of much better than he showed at Epsom.
The field is completed by the John Oxx trained Ponfeigh, who looked a smart prospect when scoring over a mile at Navan last time out.
The son of Teofilo has plenty of potential, but is likely to find the marked step up in grade into Group 1 company too much at this stage of his career.