Australia: Joseph O’Brien plans to ride Derby winner at York PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
JOSEPH O’BRIEN will maintain his partnership with Australia in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York on Wednesday.
The dual Derby winner had been expected to have a new rider but the 21-year-old signalled his intent to ride him should he line up at York.
Having registered striking victories at Epsom and the Curragh, connections expressed a desire to test their ace over 1m2f in the second-half of the campaign, but a first foray into open-age company on the Knavesmire would see Australia carry 8st12lb, receiving an 8lb weight-for-age allowance from his elders.
While O’Brien managed to ride at 8st13lb when partnering Magician in the Dubai Duty Free Sheema Classic in March, he has not ridden under 9st this season, leading many to assume that connections would seek a new jockey.
However, O’Brien went some way to quashing those claims on Sunday, responding “yes” when asked if he will be riding Australia before adding “yes, I can ride him” when asked if he could do the weight.
O’Brien rode favourite Qualify to a comfortable success in the 7f maiden at Dundalk on Sunday, but he put up 1lb over the allocated weight of 9st.
Australia was last seen when beating Kingfisher in the Irish Derby at the Curragh in June and his stablemate could join him in the International Stakes.
“The plan is [Australia] will be declared if the ground looks okay in the morning and if everything is okay with him then he will be declared to run,” O’Brien senior told At The Races. “He has done very well in his mid-season break and he is ready to go. I would imagine that he will come on for it.
“Kingfisher might run too. He’s a solid horse and if Australia runs he might run with him.”
Reflecting on his son riding at his lowest weight for sometime, the trainer added: “Joseph is able to do 8st 12lb. We don’t let him do it although he has done it last year and he will do it when he needs to do it. We’ll leave the decision to him but he is mad keen to ride.”
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