herald

Monday 20 August 2018

australia to take on all-comers

Joseph O'Brien relishing ride at Irish Champion Stakes

"To be the best you've got to beat the best" jockey Joseph O'Brien said yesterday as he relished the prospect of riding Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown tomorrow.

O'Brien was welcoming all challengers to the County Dublin track as Australia gets another opportunity to confirm the feelings of his trainer Aidan O'Brien that he is the best he has ever trained on the flat.

The leading rider added: "I might not get the chance to ride a horse as good as him again," as he looked forward to taking on six rivals in the opening day feature on Irish Champions Weekend.

The supplemented The Grey Gatsby and a couple of the older generation, most notably Trading Leather and Mukhadram, will pose difficult opposition to the long odds-on favourite but Australia should have no problem living up to his champion status and possibly set up a mouth-watering prospect of a clash with Kingman in the QEII at Ascot later in the season.

Irish Oaks runner-up and Yorkshire Oaks winner Tapestry earned plenty of worthy plaudits for lowing the colours of Taghrooda in the Yorkshire Oaks last time with many suggesting that will be the highlight of Aidan O'Brien's training achievements this season but if she can go on to win the Matron Stakes tomorrow after dropping four-furlongs in trip that would have to prove a majestic piece of placing by the champion trainer although Rizeena looks set to stand in the way of that.

Veteran trainer Clive Brittain has done a fantastic job with the three-year-old and if putting her best foot forward she should prove too hard to beat even for Tapestry over a mile.

The return of Gordon Lord Byron after last weeks brave effort over six-furlongs could prove a major ingredient in a fascinating renewal of the Clipper Boomerang Stakes in which Tom Hogan's stable star will face a difficult assignment against Aidan O'Brien's Darwin and Royal Ascot winner Mustajeeb who has done little wrong for Dermot Weld to date.

It looks like there will be little in the difference between Gordon Lord Byron and Mustajeeb in the betting and it's likely to be the same on the track with Gordon Lord Byron just selected to oblige.

Aidan O'Brien currently dominates the 2015 Epsom Derby betting and one of the horses at the head of that is John F Kennedy who should continue to live up to his lofty expectations when lining up in tomorrows John Deere Juvenile Turf Stakes, while one of last years leading two-year-olds Free Eagle will have his first start of the season in the KPMG Enterprise Stakes for which he is a likely odds on favourite.

Between the two handicaps on the card at Leopardstown tomorrow there is €300,000 up for grabs and Gordon Elliott's Bayan may secure the first of them, while in the last Piri Wango is the pick for Ger Lyons.

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