For the third year in a row, the globally-admired Ballydoyle racing operation welcomed home the winner of the Investec Derby at the weekend following the heroics of the horse rated by some in the know as the best to come out of the Rosegreen stables.
Australia’s authoritative win on Saturday at the famed Epsom Downs came as both a joy and a relief to all who have worked with the precocious colt over the last couple of years, not least the master trainer Aidan O’Brien who had been bullish about his prospects, and of course eldest son Joseph who has now ridden the derby winner twice in three runnings.
That makes it 11 times in all that Ballydoyle has been responsible for the winner of the early-June classic and they’ll no doubt have to start planning a statue in Rosegreen of Aidan O’Brien in the years to come to complement that of the late Dr Vincent O’Brien.
Dr O’Brien made Ballydoyle the top training operation it is today and won six Epsom derbies between 1962 and 1982 but now Aidan stands just one behind his predecessor.
As well as the unprecedented feat of the three-in-a-row completed by Australia on Saturday, following victories by Camelot in 2012 and Ruler of the World last year, the trainer and his team also took the race in 2001 and 2002 with Galileo and High Chapparal, respectively.
After Saturday’s victory, the trainer in his customarily modest way sought to spread the credit beyond himself and Joseph towards the lesser-known staff who come from around Tipperary and beyond to work in Ballydoyle and are up early every morning and work tirelessly through wet, cold autumns and winters to ensure the bluebloods are ready to fufill their potential when spring and summer arrive.
After the race the O’Brien family, who descended en masse on Epsom, celebrated with Aidan, his wife Anne Marie and jockey Joseph, a past-pupil of Rosegreen National School and Rockwell College who has made little of the experts who maintained for years now that he is too big for flat racing.
Meanwhile the win was also yet another huge success for the Coolmore operation headquartered outside Fethard, representing the owners’ fourth Epsom derby on the trot with Aidan O’Brien’s hat-trick coming after Pour Moi’s win for French trainer André Fabre back in 2011.
Now it’s onwards and upwards for Ballydoyle, Coolmore, their dedicated management and staff and, of course, Australia.