The late defections of Kingston Hill and Geoffrey Chaucer left not much in the way of opposition for Epsom hero Australia, who added the Irish Derby to his record when strolling home by two and a half lengths at the Curragh to become the 17th horse to complete the Anglo-Irish Derby double.
At odds of 1/8, the son of Galileo and Ouija Board led home his stablemates Kingfisher and Orchestra to give trainer Aidan O’Brien his 11th success in the race. Both placed horses are also by Coolmore’s champion sire and completing the field in fourth and fifth were Ponfeigh and Fascinating Rock.
It was at the same meeting last year that Australia made his debut, finishing second, just a quarter of a length behind Renaissance Art. His two subsequent juvenile outings resulted in victory, first in a maiden and then in the Group 3 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Trial Stakes, and he has been beaten only once in his career since then, when third in the 2,000 Guineas to Night Of Thunder and Kingman. Following one of the strongest renewals of the Newmarket Classic in recent memory, Kingman went on to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes, eighth-placed The Grey Gatsby has added the Dante Stakes and Prix du Jockey Club to his tally, while Australia, like his sire, has won both the English and Irish Derby.
Aidan O’Brien, who has now trained the first three home in the Irish Derby on five separate occasions and whose son Joseph rode the winner, said after the race: “It’s very possible he can go back to a mile and a quarter. We wouldn’t want to run him in bad ground so the Arc is definitely not a must. Over a mile and a quarter, he could be unbelievable, and you’d love to see him in either the Juddmonte International or the Irish Champion Stakes.
“We’re very privileged to have such horses and such great people to work with in such a great place to train. We’re very lucky and I’m just delighted to be part of it.”