sport

Australia an International star

Aidan O'Brien's Australia ran out a comfortable winner of the Juddmonte International at York on Wednesday.

The dual Derby winner had a severe test dropping back in trip to 10 furlongs against older rivals for the first time, but he answered those questions emphatically with a clinical performance.

Joesph O'Brien had to slim down to his lowest riding weight of 8st 12lb in order to take the ride, and he cruised up on the outside of his rivals going well at the two-furlong pole.

O'Brien pushed the son of Galileo out for a two-length success from Kevin Ryan's The Grey Gatsby, who ran on well for second.

Telescope didn't have the gears of the first two dropping back in trip to 10 furlongs, but ran another solid race in third, with Mukhadram - keener than ideal in the early stages - back in fourth.

Aidan O'Brien said: "We're delighted. I couldn't be happier. He was ready for a racecourse gallop, that was where he was at.

"There's such prize-money here and it's such a prestigious race that it's very hard to gallop him at a racecourse rather than bring him here.

"The impressive thing about this horse is that he has a lot of speed, he travels very strong. Joseph nursed him down the straight.

"The lads will decide what's next, but we had in our head to come here and then Leopardstown (Irish Champion Stakes, September 13) if everything went well."

O'Brien was keen to praise the part his son has played in the Australia's development and explained why he allowed the jockey to sweat down to his minimum weight.

"This horse was trained hard for the Guineas at a time when a lot of our horses weren't right and he only just got beat, despite being drawn on the wrong side," said the trainer.

"Then he was trained hard for the Derby and the Irish Derby so the summer was the first break he had.

"In the last three weeks he really started to thrive but he was very heavy. I was concerned, but Joseph knew my concerns.

"My heart starts beating at 4am every morning because of this horse. Everyone at Ballydoyle and Coolmore make this happen and I'm privileged to be part of it.

"I can't tell you the massive part Joseph plays. He can do 8st 12lb but we don't like him doing it.

"We're quite happy for him to put overweight up when he does. On the big days we want Joseph to be on and this is one of them.

"It was a big relief for me when Joseph was going to be on him because he knows every part of him."

The North Yorkshire handler said: "It was a fantastic run, Hughesie (Richard Hughes) gave him a fabulous ride.

"We've no excuses, the winner is a fabulous horse.

"The way he's finished it looks like he'll get a mile and a half, which opens up plenty of options, but we've no plans at this stage."

Harry Herbert, racing manager for Telescope's owners, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said that his colt would now be stepped back up in trip.

Herbert said: "He needs a mile and a half, it's as simple as that. He's run very well over a mile and a quarter behind two Derby winners.

"It's up to Sir Michael (Stoute) but I would have thought the Breeders' Cup would be the main objective now."

Sky Bet went 6/1 from 7/1 about Australia for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown is a more likely port of call and he's 1/2 from evens for that assignment.

Spokesman Michael Shinners said: "Australia proved he had the speed for ten furlongs against some top-notch older rivals there including the Eclipse winner and the King George runner-up.

"His autumn target looks to be Leopardstown and he looks a very strong favourite for that contest while it remains to be seen if connections are tempted by the big prize in Paris."