Australia camp happy to stay at mile and a quarter

Australia winning the Irish Derby Irish Derby

Australia: connections would go rather go back in trip

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

JOSEPH O’BRIEN would rather drop back in trip with Australia than tackle a mile and a half again with the colt, who was a classy winner of the Juddmonte International at York on Wednesday.

Although a general 5-1 shot for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and a dual Derby winner, Australia’s best trip is considered to be a mile and a quarter by connections.

Speaking after the International win, Aidan O’Brien said Australia is: “never a horse who needs to go a mile and a half.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Joseph O’Brien, as he said on At The Races: “A mile and a mile and a quarter is his ideal trip. I would rather ride him at a mile than a mile and a half.

“We have made no secret about the high regard we hold him in. The lads and dad will decide in the next ten days [on his targets] but things like the Irish Champion Stakes, the QEII at Ascot and the Champion Stakes are all open to him.”

Should Ascot’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes be deemed a suitable race, it would set up a potential showdown with Kingman, winner of four consecutive Group 1s and only beaten once in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Such a clash would also be at Kingman’s optimum distance of a mile, whereas the Qipco Champion Stakes and Qipco Irish Champion Stakes are both over a mile and a quarter.

Reflecting on Australia’s two-length International win, Joseph O’Brien added:  “It was a very good race on paper and I don’t think any horse ran too far below his best. You can ride him any way you please. He was a little fresh the first couple of furlongs and he was entitled to be as it was his first run in a while. We are very happy and he might be even better the next day.”


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