December 6, 2023

Australia eyes Irish Derby; Cirrus better but shelved for fall campaign

Last updated: 6/8/14 7:53 PM

Australia eyes Irish Derby; Cirrus better but shelved for
fall campaign

Saturday’s Group 1 Derby hero Australia exited the race in good order,
according to trainer Aidan O’Brien, and could take in the Irish Derby at the
Curragh June 28.

“He (was) fine (Sunday) morning — he was just out for a walk and he looks
great,” O’Brien told PA Sport. “The Irish Derby would be a possibility, but it
will be up to the lads (Coolmore) to decide. The ground will obviously be a
factor and we will try not to run him on bad ground.”

O’Brien’s fancied Geoffrey Chaucer finished last of 16 at Epsom, and the
trainer commented: “Geoffrey Chaucer was badly hampered and after that Ryan
(Moore) was very easy on him and let him canter home.”

O’Brien’s other runners, Orchestra and Kingfisher, finished 12th and 10th,

The Dermot Weld-trained Fascinating Rock, winner of the Derrinstown Stud
Derby Trial May 11, could also head to the Irish Derby after finishing eighth at

“He got into a lot of trouble coming down the hill — he was never balanced,”
Weld told PA Sport. “He ran on and finished about a length and a half ahead of
Ebanoran, so you could say the Derrinstown was run roughly to form. You couldn’t
say if he stayed or didn’t stay. The Irish Derby is a definite possible.”

Trainer Roger Varian reported Derby second Kingston Hill to be in good shape
the morning after his Epsom exploits. While Varian was non-committal about
future targets for his Racing Post Trophy winner, he noted the Irish Derby was

“It was a great run,” Varian said. “He has backed up the form of his
two-year-old win in the Racing Post Trophy and proved he is up to mixing it with
the best. He got the trip well and Andrea (Atzeni) gave him a lovely ride.

“We have no excuses — we were beaten by a better horse on the day and we are
incredibly proud of his performance. He seems fine this morning. He has a
wonderful constitution; he has eaten up and been for a pick of grass.

“I’ll see how he is over the next few days before making a firm plan, but at
this stage the Irish Derby would be under consideration,” Varian added.

Varian also noted that Ambivalent, third in Saturday’s Group 1 Coronation
Cup, could be given an international campaign later this year.

Trainer Corine Barande-Barbe issued a positive update Sunday on Cirrus des
Aigles, who pulled up lame after capturing his sixth Group 1 victory in the
Coronation Cup. The conditioner noted that the eight-year-old gelding had
returned to his Chantilly base Sunday.

“He’s back home, he’s had a roll and he seems very happy,” Barande-Barbe told
PA Sport. “We think it was just a little problem and nothing too serious. He was
really lame straight after the race, but was much better very quickly.

“He has had an X-ray already and there is a small shadow, but on the whole
the report is not too bad, which is fantastic. He will have some more X-rays in
a few days and we will know more at the end of the week, but he had some
medication yesterday. He has not had any since and he seems well this morning.”

Barande-Barbe was non-committal about immediate targets for her stable star,
but said that a long term goal would be the Champion Stakes at Ascot’s Champions
Day in October, a race Cirrus des Aigles won in 2011 and has finished second in
the last two years.

“It is difficult to say at the moment, but I think I will probably give him
one month or six weeks off and look to the autumn,” she said. “We have to be
careful with him. It is hard to say anything for certain but, if he recovers
well, in my opinion we could aim for the Champion Stakes, with maybe one run
before, but we really will have to wait and see.”

Reflecting on Saturday’s victory, Barande-Barbe said: “It was a really great
experience and it was just a shame he had the little problem after the race. It
was a great day and a great occasion and I was very impressed by the support of
the English public.”

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