Australia is bred to be a fantastic racehorse and cost an enormous amount of money as a yearling yet is showing every sign of living up to both his genes and his massive price tag.
A son of arguably the best stallion in the world, Galileo (sire of, among many others, the unbeaten two-time QIPCO British Champion Series champion, Frankel), and the dual Classic-winning mare, Ouija Board, who landed six Group 1 races on three different continents, he fetched £551,250 in the sales ring.
A very slow start meant that he had to settle for a narrow second place on his racecourse debut, at The Curragh on June 30 2013, but he got off the mark at the same venue three weeks later and then first hit the headlines with a stunning six length victory in a Group 3 event at Leopardstown in early September.
This prompted his trainer, the many-times Irish Champion Aidan O’Brien, to call him ‘very special, we have always thought that there was something very different about him’ and similar testimonials over the winter meant that he went to his next race, the Group 1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket some eight months later, as a strong second favourite behind Kingman.
His performance lived up to the hype but, racing on the other side of the course to the first two home, Night Of Thunder and Kingman, he was beaten less than a length into third.
His pedigree suggests that he will be better over a longer distance, the Investec Derby – the second race in the Middle Distance section of the QIPCO British Champions Series – which he won with ease, with O’Brien stating in advance that he is the best horse he has ever trained.
Next he hacked up in the Irish Derby though the opposition was poor. He then went to the Juddmonte International at York when his trainer said he would need the run (they had considered a racecourse gallop instead), but he won with ease showing what a class horse he is.
Next time on his beloved fast ground at Leopardstown he lost out by a neck to The Grey Gatsby in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes. He had beaten The Grey Gatsby comfortably at York. Maybe Joseph O’Brien came too wide, giving ground away, and maybe he hit the front too soon. It was certainly a shock.
He was due to run in the QEII on QIPCO British Champions Day, but suffered a foot problem and has now been retired to stud.