After his narrow defeat in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at the weekend when beaten less than a length in third place behind surprise winner Night Of Thunder and 6-4 favourite Kingman the Aidan O’Brien-trained Australia is a best price 7-4 to give the Ballydoyle handler win number five in the Epsom Derby on Saturday 7th June but at the much more generous price of 16-1 (available with most bookmakers, including Winner) it is the favourite’s stablemate Geoffrey Chaucer who makes more appeal as an ante-post value bet at this stage.
By the great sire Galileo out of mutiple Group 1 winner Ouija Board Australia is certainly bred to win a Derby and the stable has held the colt in the highest regard even before setting foot on a racecourse but the horse had been showing so much pace at home that confidence was high going into the Guineas and so, like Entrepreneur who won the 2000 Guineas in 1997 despite having a middle-distance pedigree, may fail to improve for the extra distance as his breeding would suggest.
There should be no such stamina issues with stable companion Geoffrey Chaucer who is stoutly-bred and as a two-year-old was winner of both his starts over a mile, the first a Leopardstown maiden in July before landing the Group 2 Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at the Curragh the following September. The son of Montjeu, like Australia, is held in high regard at Ballydoyle having started an odds on chance for both of those races and the form of the latter contest recieved a boost when the third horse home Altruistic went on to occupy the same position behind Kingston Mill in Doncaster’s Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at the back end of the season.
O’Brien is not averse to having multiple entries in an effort to win Flat racing’s most famous Classic and it would be a major surprise if they relied solely on Australia next month and should Geoffrey Chaucer keep his unbeaten record in one of the forthcoming Derby trials he is almost certain to be a single-figure price come the day of the race.