INVESTEC DERBY (Group 1)
Epsom Downs, Turf, 2423m
7 June 2014
Australia (GB) (Galileo) will face 15 rivals in today’s G1 Investec Derby at Epsom, with Aidan O’Brien’s much-vaunted colt set to break from stall 12 in his bid to provide Coolmore with a fourth consecutive renewal and his trainer with a fifth overall.
As with the recent blue riband heroes Sir Percy (GB), New Approach (Ire), Sea the Stars (Ire) and Camelot (GB), Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Teo Ah Khing’s chestnut launched his season in the G1 2000 Guineas and, like that quartet, performed to a high standard over Newmarket’s undulating Rowley Mile. There were shades of Hawk Wing in his admirable effort five weeks ago, as he dominated the stand’s-side group, as his predecessor had 12 years earlier, only to lose out overall by less than a half-length.
Despite his exploits there, Australia’s destiny has always lain over this trip and arguably at this track, where his sire took command of proceedings 13 years ago and his dam, Ouija Board (GB) (Cape Cross), first showed her true mettle in the Friday Classic in 2004. Lammtarra was the last to win this for a Derby-winning sire and Oaks-winning dam 19 years ago, and Joseph O’Brien is aware of the heavily favoring portents for his mount.
“He’s bred to stay the trip, he’s bred to handle the track and he’s probably bred to win the Derby, which is what you need heading here,” he said. “It’s a great test of a racehorse. Since he came into the yard and started working, he was always a very good horse - he has plenty of pace and is well-balanced, and his mum and dad both handled the track well.”
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News