Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Juddmonte International Stakes - Australia on a mission

Australia makes his much-anticipated return to the tracks in Wednesday's Juddmonte International. The Classic generation has been blessed with some supremely talent this year with the likes of Kingman and Taghrooda, and Australia will aim to reach their levels by confirming his ever-growing reputation. His biggest task to date will be to take on the older brigade and put himself as the undisputed middle-distance king, at least among the colts. Until a showdown with queen Taghrooda, that is.

There are 6 entrants in York showpiece but only 3 of them are real contenders; Australia, Telescope and Mukhadram; the others have no chance.

Telescope surprised me when running a good second behind Taghrooda in the King George. Although he hasn't won in Group 1 company yet, he proved that he belonged among the elite. Although he can be lethal at the mile and a quarter distance, I believe his optimum trip is the mile and a half. He has yet to finish out of the first 2 in his career and I think that his best hope is for second place.

Mukhadram has got the important tactical speed that makes him difficult to under-estimate. There is no doubt that he will be following the Ballydoyle pacemaker Kingfisher and lead the way in the closing stages, in the hope of withstanding the final bursts of Telescope and Australia. He is a battling warrior that will run his honest race but like Telescope, he will be fighting for second place.

Australia has won 2 Derbies but he has got the speed to match it up with the best at ten furlongs. He can produce the instant acceleration that enables him to get past by horses in a seemingly effortless fashion. The main concern is his fitness, or lack of, after nearly 2 months break. But his class should prevail and with the weight allowance he's receiving from the older brigade, it's hard to side against him.

No contest here, Australia should win this and move on to bigger things, like Taghrooda and the Arc. For the runner-up spot, it's a toss-up between Telescope and Mukhadram with the latter getting my vote.

Win: Australia

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