Australia (3c Galileo-Ouija Board, by Cape Cross) lived up to his huge reputation at Epsom on Saturday when capturing a brilliant renewal of the G1 Derby.
The hot favourite was always travelling sweetly under Joseph O’Brien and he showed an impressive turn of foot to collar the runner-up Kingston Hill (3c Mastercraftsman-Audacieuse, by Rainbow Quest) a furlong and a half from home.
It was a third Derby winner for Galileo and a second consecutive success for the 2001 Epsom hero following Ruler Of The World in 2013.
“The race pretty much went as planned,” said the winning jockey. “He’s travelled so well during the race and just idled a bit when he hit the front.
“We’ve made no secret about what we think about this horse and I knew I was on the best one so just wanted to give him a chance to do himself justice.
“They went a nice even pace and I was cantering the whole way. I got there too soon and he had a good look but I had to stay going. Horses don’t come any easier to ride than this fellow. As a two-year-old he was quite babyish in his races and raced quite lazily but this year he has been a push-button ride.
He’s the best.”
Aidan O’Brien made history in becoming the first trainer to win three consecutive Derbys, following Camelot (2012) and Ruler Of The World (2013), and he added: “It’s a privilege to have such good horses to train year after year. When we have Galileos bred the way they are then anything is possible.
“We always thought this horse was special from the very first day he worked. What made him very unusual was that he had a lot of speed for a horse bred to get a mile and a half.
“The way he goes from A to B so easily makes him unique. Horses that do that don’t normally get a mile and a half. To get a mile and a half like that at Epsom every sinew in his body was going to be tested – he had to settle, quicken, and handle the hurly burly and everything but what makes him different is his natural pace.
“He’s unique the way he can go from anywhere a mile up. I didn’t say beforehand but I had it in my mind that if he didn’t perform here he could go for the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes.”
Australia was bred by Lord Derby’s Stanley Estate & Stud Company and Ouija Board is back in foal to Galileo.
Six days after The Grey Gatsby (3c Mastercraftsman-Marie Vison, by Entrepreneur) gave Mastercraftsman a first-crop Classic winner in the G1 French Derby, Kingston Hill came close to completing an amazing double when second at Epsom.
“I’m very proud of the horse,” said trainer Roger Varian. “He did nothing wrong. It was an impressive run that was full of promise. He’s back to his two-year-old form and we hope he comes out of this well then we have a lot to look forward to.
“The winner is very good and the Guineas form has stood up. I knew how tough my horse is and I was very confident he’d get the trip so I’m hoarse from cheering him. I knew he’d go down fighting. We’ll see what paths we both go down now and they could meet again.”
Kingston Hill is owned by Paul Smith, whose father Derrick’s colours were carried to victory by Australia.
“I am absolutely delighted,” said Paul. “Obviously, we came here to win the race and we were very hopeful but he ran a superb race. Andrea (Atzeni) did so much and I know that they thought so much of Australia back home. We tried to put it up to him but we are absolutely delighted. It’s great for Mastercraftsman, great for Andrea and young Roger. I am so pleased. Dad has got the bragging rights – he can pay the bill tonight!”