Irish Champions Day Attracts Derby Winner Australia

Australia’s appearance on Saturday in the Irish Champion Stakes has given the inaugural Irish Champions Day a big boost. The Derby winner is the warm odds-on favourite to win the 1m2f contest at Leopardstown and he should be able to get the job done once again to seal his fourth Group One success of his career.

There may be tougher tests to come for Australia later this year with the Arc and British Champions Stakes both likely targets. However, he will have to overcome The Grey Gatsby and Mukhadram who both have picked up Group One victories of their own this season.

It is debatable about what is Aidan O’Brien’s colt’s optimum trip. The three-year old came home third behind Night of Thunder and Kingman over a mile in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May in a respectable run. That form has since been boosted as the second that day has gone on to won two Group Ones races.

It was always thought that 12f was going to suit Australia best and he certainly appreciated it at Epsom in the Derby as he stayed better than any of his rivals, including Racing Post Trophy winner Kingston Hill to seal the race. A step back down to 1m2f came in his last outing on the Knavesmire at York in the Juddmonte International, where once again, he was comfortable winner.

Even if connections do decide that their horse is better over 10 furlongs, the chance to run in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe may prove too tempting so he is likely to run in Paris at Longchamp in the first Sunday in October. That race could see him clash with last year’s winner Treve and Oaks heroine Taghrooda.

Across the Irish Sea on Saturday, Kingston Hill is looking for Classic redemption in the St Leger at Doncaster after finishing runner-up in the Derby. The ground at the Yorkshire track is unlikely to fall on the soft side, which he does need but despite the concerns, he still heads the ante-post betting for the contest.

Without the juice in the ground, Kingston Hill is worth taking on this weekend. John Gosden has an excellent record in the final Classic of the season and he saddles a maximum of three this year. His best chance appears to be with Romsdal which will be ridden by William Buick. The colt was third in the Derby but is expected to be suited by the 1m6f trip. If successful, the colt will be his trainer’s fifth winner in the race.

The new jumps season gets underway properly next week with one of the first big races of the campaign in the form of the Kerry National in Ireland. Alderwood is the early ante-post favourite for trainer Thomas Mullins. The J.P McManus owned horse could run in the Grand National 2015 at Aintree in April but will be looking for a big race success en route to the Merseyside showpiece event.

Alderwoods’s last win came at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival when he was successful in the Grand Annual Chase after going off the 3-1 favourite. On that occasion the Irish runner was well backed to land a gamble at Prestbury Park and he did so comfortably by over three lengths over the shorter trip of 2m.

Since that success at the biggest meeting in National Hunt racing, he has pulled up in the Ryan Air Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival and was brought down in the Galway Plate in his latest start back in July therefore will have to reproduce his old form if he is to get into the winner’s enclosure once again.


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