Australia collects third Group 1 victory
STAR GALLOPER: Australia, who won the Group 1 Epsom Derby in England on June 7 (above), went on to win the Irish version on June 28 and then the International Stakes on Wednesday. - PHOTO: AFP
Dual Derby winner AUSTRALIA captured his third successive Group 1 race on Wednesday and gave trainer Aidan O'Brien a joint-record fifth win in the International Stakes at York.
The Irish raider, who coasted to victory in both the Epsom and Irish Derbies earlier in the season, eased away in the final 200m under the trainer's son Joseph to justify his odds of 8-13 on favourite.
Victory moves Aidan onto the same mark as Michael Stoute at the top of the trainer's table for victories in the race.
French Derby winner The Grey Gatsby ran on impressively to finish second, two lengths adrift at 12-1.
The hotly-fancied Telescope found nothing in the final 200m to finish third at 5-1.
O'Brien, who became the first trainer to win three successive Epsom Derbies when Australia prevailed in June, giving him his fifth victory in all, said he had felt his stable star was ready for a return to the racetrack.
"I felt he was ready for a racecourse gallop," said the 44-year-old.
"The important thing about him is his speed and I couldn't be happier with him today."
O'Brien, whose winner earns a free entry to the Breeder's Cup Turf with another option, the Japan Cup, where he would pick up a bonus if he won that to add to the International Stakes, said Australia's long-term campaign would be decided by him and the owners, who include former bookmaker Michael Tabor and the Coolmore Stud.
"In the immediacy, the thought is to go to Leopardstown and the Irish Champion Stakes (Sept 8)," he said.
Joseph, whose constant battle with his weight could eventually see him have to change to becoming a national hunt jockey, said Australia had given him cause for concern early in the race which was raced over a shorter distance than the 2,400m of the Derby.
"He was a bit fresh today but nevertheless the outcome was never in doubt," said the 21-year-old.
"He wasn't as explosive as he can be but it was still an impressive win."
Kevin Ryan, the trainer of The Grey Gatsby, was delighted with his runner's performance.
"I'm proud of him. We are very excited about our horse and he delivered a fantastic run with a great ride by 'Hughesie' (Richard Hughes)," he said. - AFP.