Australia remains firmly in mix for Irish Derby

But Irish handicapper Garry O’Gorman thinks superstar colt’s best trip may be less than a mile and a half

Australia remains firmly in the mix for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the end of the month but despite having won at Epsom last weekend there appear to be official doubts as to whether or not a mile and a half will turn out to be the superstar colt's optimum distance.

Ireland’s senior handicapper Garry O’Gorman said yesterday he isn’t convinced Australia was idling in front during the closing stages at Epsom when the runner-up Kingston Hill closed the winning margin to less than two lengths at the line.

“I’m not convinced the horse was lazy in front. There was no evidence of that when he won his Group Three at Leopardstown as a two-year-old. I’ve got to say I suspect his optimum trip might turn out to be less than a mile and a half,” he said yesterday.

“That’s not to say he won’t run in the Irish Derby but my impression at Epsom was that he did everything right, travelled beautifully through the race, but didn’t finish out the race in the manner of a true stayer,” O’Gorman added.


There were some red faces at the Turf Club when it emerged that an administrative error had resulted in a JP McManus-owned horse being rated over two stone lower than he should have been for the last handicap at Fairyhouse tonight.

The Charles O’Brien-trained Stocktons Wing was declared for the second division of the mile and a half handicap on a rating of just 47 despite having run off a mark of 81 on his last start on the flat last October.

A Turf Club spokesman confirmed yesterday that Stocktons Wing won’t be allowed to run, which could be good news for Greatness tonight.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column