Mukhadram may bring Australia back down to earth


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The Independent Online

Australia has had an awful lot to live up to since Aidan O’Brien told everyone that this was the best Flat horse he had ever had anything to do with. The son of Galileo, narrowly beaten in the 2,000 Guineas, then duly won in the Derby and Irish Derby.

Given O’Brien’s proclamation, however, this was perhaps the least that could be expected. Now Australia needs to show he can beat the best of the older generations.

At York tomorrow he comes up against the classy Telescope and Mukhadram in the International Stakes, with O’Brien warning that the odds-on favourite is a little overweight following a summer rest.

This fitness issue must be a concern, more than whether Australia’s jockey Joseph O’Brien puts up a pound or two overweight. These are not rivals who can be fought with one hand tied behind the back, particularly the underestimated Eclipse winner Mukhadram (3.40 York), in the form of his life and back over his optimum trip.

The Derby runner-up Kingston Hill contests the Great Voltigeur Stakes, an important trial for the St Leger. This is not a favourite I would want to have my last tenner on, either, against progressive rivals like Hartnell and Postponed (3.05 York), who looked very much one to follow at this level when trouncing a good field at Hamilton last time.

In the sprint handicap which kicks off proceedings, the in-form Goldream (1.55 York), drawn near to some confirmed trailblazers to tow him along, has a lot in his favour and might be the answer.

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