Dante Stakes: True Story's dismal conclusion writes Derby script for Australia

The bookies were quick to shovel the Godolphin colt out to 16-1 for the Epsom Derby

york

Australia is now odds-on favourite for the Derby next month after True Story, supposedly his greatest threat, could finish only third behind The Grey Gatsby in the Dante Stakes at York, the last recognised trial for the Epsom classic.

The Knavesmire is a popular last port of call for the Derby and nine horses have completed the double since 1960, but today's winner is not even entered at Epsom and is unlikely to be supplemented, the preferred target being the French equivalent which is two furlongs shorter.

Trained in Yorkshire by Kevin Ryan – this has been a superb meeting for the locals – The Grey Gatsby finished down the field in the 2,000 Guineas and connections of True Story could be nothing but disappointed to be beaten by him, even if the winner did impede the hot favourite by hanging right entering the last furlong (an action which cost jockey Ryan Moore a two-day ban).

Godolphin have not, though, given up on the Derby dream. Saeed bin Suroor, who trains True Story, did not think the drying ground would be a problem going into the race and had been encouraged by a sparkling piece of work, but said afterwards: "He will be better on faster ground and over the extra distance, so we still plan to run."

Workforce was an emphatic winner of the 2010 Derby after being soundly beaten in the Dante, so there is a recent precedent for Godolphin to cling on to, but the bookies were quick to shovel True Story out to 16-1 for Epsom, the same price as runner-up Arod.

Peter Chapple-Hyam, whose Authorized was the last to complete the Dante-Derby double in 2007, was thrilled with Arod, who improved again on his impressive Windsor maiden win last month. "The important thing was to get him to relax and he did," he said. "I would imagine he will go to Epsom now, but quicker ground will help."

So where are we after this final Derby trial? Is Australia now the proverbial "good thing"?

Taking him on at Epsom Downs or in the betting shops might be seen as a leap of faith, but there are holes to pick for anyone who cares to delve for them, even merely as a Devil's advocate.

For instance, it has been suggested that his breeding (by Derby winner Galileo out of Oaks winner Ouija Board) already puts one of his feet in the Epsom winners' circle, but Ouija Board's other offspring have been nothing out of the ordinary and that includes Australia's full sister, Filia Regina, last seen down the field in a nondescript Newcastle handicap off a rating of 65.

Aidan O'Brien said this week that he was first aware of Australia's exceptional qualities this time last year when four consecutive outings on the gallops were timed at 11 seconds per furlong. However, according to TurfTrax he did not manage to replicate that speed at any stage when beaten into third recently in the 2,000 Guineas, a race, by the way, that Nashwan, Sea The Stars and Camelot actually won before going on to triumph in the Derby. And should we not at least wonder whether a horse who worked like a champion sprinter as an early two-year-old will also be top dog over a mile and a half at three?

The hordes of O'Brien supporters probably will not entertain these doubts for one moment, relying instead on the master trainer's assessment that Australia is a step up from his four previous Derby winners and is Ballydoyle's "Special One". But it's no foregone conclusion.

For information regarding the QIPCO British Champions Series visit: britishchampionsseries.com

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam