Australia & The Grey Gatsby Champion Forecast
Irish Champion Stakes
Racegoers will flock to Leopardstown on Saturday in order of catching a glimpse of the mighty, Australia, who will bid to make it…
…four Group 1 victories on the spin in the Irish Champion Stakes (6.50).
Having scooped both versions of the Derby in England and Ireland, plus the International Stakes (1m2f, good to firm), Australia has been hammered into 2/7 to win on Saturday, and the manner in which he bossed the top middle-distance events this summer suggests he will take all the beating.
Aidan O’Brien has done a grand job in keeping this colt on the boil throughout the season, and the fact the Ballydoyle maestro won the Irish Champion five times this decade is an ominous sign. O’Brien also runs Kingfisher (66/1), who should ensure Australia gets the right gallop to produce his best.
10 returned 8/1 or shorter
10 were either officially rated 118 or higher, or had no rating
10 has 3 career wins or more
10 made the top four last time
9 arrived via York, Goodwood or Sandown
Distance winners were 5-20 (25%), compared to non-distance winners at 3-34 (9%)
Aidan O’Brien won it five times, John Oxx twice
There will of course be plenty of backers looking for each-way value, and Kevin Ryan’s, The Grey Gatsby (6/1), may be the choice having recorded a career best in getting to within 2l of Australia at York last month. Should the ground not get too soft, then this 3yo is expected to go well again, especially with Ryan Moore back in the saddle.
Willie Haggas also brings over Mukhadram (10/1), who won the Group 1 Eclipse at Sandown in July, before a creditable third in the King George over 1m4f. The concern is that he will need to bounce back following a disappointing fourth (beaten over 7l) behind Australia at York last month, though he did sweat up that day prior to race keenly, so may be worth another chance.
Trading Leather is another available at double-figure odds of 14/1, but he was put in his place to the tune of 2l in the aforementioned Eclipse by Mukhadram, and was beaten over 3l in this race 12 months ago. He needs to pull out more if winning.
Also beaten in the 2013 Irish Champion Stakes was the 6yo, Al Kazeem (12/1), who went down by just over 1l to The Fugue. Despite being beaten on his belated reappearance in July in Listed grade, he bounced back to win a Group 3 last month (1m2f, good), and his consistency make him an each-way possibility.
There is no escaping Australia’s chances, as a repeat of any of his three victories from this summer should be good enough on Saturday. While he is the most likely winner,
there is a sense this could be a race for each-way or forecast backers, bringing the likes of The Great Gatsby into the equation.
While he has a bit to find with Australia from York, the ground will suit and he is re-united with Ryan Moore, who may make the difference.