KEVIN RYAN spoke of his huge pride after The Grey Gatsby chased home dual Derby winning hero Australia (8-13 fav) to finish runner up in York’s richest ever race – the £800,000 Juddmonte International.
The Sutton Bank trainer’s three-year-old was no match for the conqueror of Epsom and the Curragh, unable to match Australia’s turn of foot as he kicked for home at the two furlong marker.
But The Grey Gatsby (12-1), who had won the Dante Stakes at York in May before taking the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly the next month, vaulted through the field to follow home two lengths adrift.
With Kingfisher pacemaking for the Ballydoyle superstar, trained by Aidan O’Brien, Australia and The Grey Gatsby sat patiently side by side at the back of the field during the first half of the ten furlong contest.
Jockey Joseph O’Brien, riding at his lowest weight for two-and-a-half years, moved a cruising Australia to the outside of his rivals with a quarter of a mile remaining and merely had to push him out to a comfortable success from his North Yorkshire rival.
Ryan, however, was not in the least disappointed with his stable star’s performance.
“We are delighted with him,” he said of The Grey Gatsby. “He had a fantastic race. He’s a very simple horse and did everything right for us.
“Australia is a fantastic racehorse and we looked to let him kick first and hopefully go after him. You don’t give Richard (Hughes, jockey) a plan.
“He came out and I said ‘I am sure you have a plan’ and he did. He’s a champion jockey and he has seen the horse.
“I am very proud of the horse. We have been beaten by a fantastic horse and I won’t be making any decisions about what he is going to do.
“I would like to say the horse will definitely be in training next year. Richard said he will get a mile and a half no problem and he really did us proud. He had a great run.”
Trainer O’Brien, meanwhile, said he felt Australia had only been ready for a “racecourse gallop” as he dropped him back from 12 to ten furlongs for the contest.
He said: “That’s where he was but there is such prize money in this race and it is so prestigious that we had to take him here.
“I am delighted. There is a lot of speed with this horse. He travelled very strongly and Joseph nursed him away down the straight. I couldn’t be happier.”
The trainer had been concerned about the weight his colt had gained in the weeks leading up to the contest and he added: “He had a good break (after the Irish Derby) but his weight rose alarmingly in the last three weeks.
“From his Epsom Derby run he was 15 to 20 kilos heavier. That’s a lot of weight. Joseph got up on him in the parade ring and said it was like being on a five-year-old. He has matured.
“I always thought he had a lot of pace and he is a very strong traveller.”