It's Australia day as favorite wins Epsom Derby for Aidan O'Brien treble

Pre-race favorite Australia (center) on his way to victory in the Epsom Derby

Story highlights

  • Favorite Australia wins the Epsom Derby, the Blue Riband of English racing
  • Victory means trainer Aidan O'Brien wins the race three times in a row
  • Australia is bred by Lord Derby, whose family the historic raced is named after
  • Kingston Hill finishes second with Romsdal third

It will be remembered as the day that Australia came to Epsom.

Aiden O'Brien's colt --ridden by the trainer's son Joseph -- delivered a scintillating performing to capture the Derby, English's horse racing's original Blue Riband event.

But while the British public are accustomed to antipodean sporting success on their shores, in this case, Australia has a pedigree that's a little closer to home.

The oft-quoted English horseracing authority James Weatherby once said, "Fortunately, nobody knows how to breed a Derby winner. If they did, it would take all the fun out of it."

Australia's breeder may disagree.

By 2001 Derby winner Galileo, prepotent sire of, among others, Frankel, and out of 2004 Oaks winner Ouija Board, Australia was bred by Lord Derby himself, whose ancestor gave this race its name.

Legend has it the decision to name the race after the 12th Earl of Derby was made on the basis of a coin toss in 1779.

Seven generations later, the present Earl was taking no such chances. If ever there was a colt bred to the task of winning the Epsom Derby, Australia is it.

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There is a theory about thoroughbred breeding which states: "Breed the best to the best and hope for the best."

Australia, described by his trainer as the best he's ever trained, carried this hope along with no small measure of expectation.

Sent off as a well backed 11-8 favorite, Australia ultimately lived up his billing as a horse worthy of adding his name to a roster of champions that includes the likes of Nijinsky, Mill Reef and Sea the Stars.

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Under a masterful ride from Joseph O'Brien, riding his second Derby winner after Camelot in 2012, the chestnut colt glided home comfortably to win by one-and-half lengths.

Valiant runner-up Kingston Hill, a previous Group 1 winner himself, rallied bravely before being outclassed in the final stages, while a fast finishing Romsdal completed the placings.

For O'Brien, it represented a unique hat trick -- no trainer has previously won the Derby three times in a row. It takes the Irish trainer's overall record to five wins in this race.

"We are in a very privileged position to have the horses we have," the master trainer told reporters after the race.

"We always said that he was very special and to have the pace that he has for a Galileo is incredible."

His son Joseph added, "I had a grand position and I was going easy coming down the hill. There's no easier horse to ride than him. He is the best."

For Lord Derby he became the first member of his family to breed the winner since the 1933 champion Hyperion

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