Australia: added the Juddmonte International to his two Derby winsPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Australia flies home to win International
Report: York, Wednesday
Juddmonte International Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 1m2½f, 3yo+
AUSTRALIA powered through his toughest test to date with brutal ease, adding the Juddmonte International to his expanding seasonal haul of Group 1s in an impressive display of both speed and class.
Settled in last by his fasting jockey Joseph O'Brien, Australia followed the field as his stablemate Kingfisher set a fair gallop. Turning for home, pace was injected and as the field straightened up it became quickly apparent the race was Australia's.
He travelled comfortably and as O'Brien fanned out to deliver his run he had to take a pull, so instant was the response from his mount. Having wasted his way down to ride at 8st 12lb his jockey could be forgiven for wanting to pause and take in the moment.
The feeling Australia would give him when letting out an inch of rein at this very moment must have been one of the reasons O'Brien had committed to making his lowest riding weight for over two years. The way his equine companion responded, it is sure to have put the biggest smile on his face.
It was an emphatic performance, especially from a horse Aidan O'Brien had openly admitted beforehand was not fully wound up. "If he was going to get beaten today it was the trainer's fault," he said in the aftermath. "I thought maybe I let him get too heavy.
"If it was an ordinary race he would probably have gone for a racecourse gallop. But obviously with the prize-money here and the way everything is done at York and being such a prestigious race - the prize-money was so enticing he had to come here rather than go anywhere else."
Australia: rewarded his rider's efforts to make 8st 12lbPICTURE: Getty Images
Come the line two lengths separated him from his nearest pursuer The Grey Gatsby, himself a Classic winner. Kevin Ryan's French Derby winner, a 12-1 shot, did his bit to further the impression the current generation of three-year-olds is beyond exceptional by putting a further two-and-a-quarter lengths back to Royal Ascot winner and King George runner-up Telescope in third.
Arc favourite Taghrooda managed to put less than that into Sir Michael Stoute's yardstick, yet Betfred and William Hill left O'Brien's colt unchanged at 5-1 for Europe's richest race. Paddy Power however did cut him to 2-7 (from evens) for the Irish Champion Stakes.
The trainer said: "The plan was if he came here then he would go back to Leopardstown, but the boys will decide that. The Arc is a possibility but he is never a horse who needs to go a mile and a half. The lads will decide where he goes but I don't think he has a lot to prove to anybody."
Two Derby wins had failed to take Australia out of the tremendous shadow cast by both his illustrious parents and his trainer's assertions he could be the greatest he'd ever trained. With victory at York he stepped into the light for the first time, and has begun on his own path to greatness.
Ever wondered what it's like to be in the winner's enclosure? Then check out this picture from the PA of Australia