The Grey Gatsby ran down the long odds-on favourite Australia to gain a memorable victory having been a scrubbed along 84-1 shot under Ryan Moore on the home turn of the 2000m Gr1 Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday, 13 September 2014.
The outcome looked as unexpected at that stage as the betting suggested beforehand, with dual Derby winner Australia sent off the 30-100 favourite. As the preface to such a dramatic finish nothing could have been more unexpected as Moore was scrubbing away on the French Derby winner The Grey Gatsby some four lengths behind his nearest rival, who happened to be Australia. Yet the persistence of Britain’s three-time champion jockey was to pay a rich dividend, ensuring first prize of €580,000 on a colt added to the race for a fee of €75,000 on Monday.
It was not straightforward even then as Australia had opened up a clear lead under his regular rider Joseph O’Brien. As at York, when Australia beat The Grey Gatsby in the Juddmonte International, the gap looked insurmountable, only this time one faltered and the other fought back.
In a frantic race to the line, Moore had O’Brien in his sights and his mount responded to the target, edging ever closer to Australia then edging by for a famous victory for owner Frank Gillespie and trainer Kevin Ryan. Trading Leather claimed third at 20-1, four and a half lengths behind Australia.
Moore said: ““I was confident that I’d pass five of them, I just wasn’t quite so confident about the sixth. My horse is improving and he was impressive in France and very good in the Juddmonte. I thought Australia would be hard to beat, but that mine would come on for York. They went a good gallop but my horse tries really hard. He travels well and you just have to give him a target to aim at and he’ll chase it. They both ran a good race to pull clear like that. Hopefully mine can improve a bit more.”
For Kevin Ryan, The Grey Gatsby’s trainer, it was a breakthrough moment, confirming the merit of The Grey Gatsby’s win in the French Derby earlier this year, and also Ryan’s ability to compete on the sport’s biggest days. “He’s a great horse and it was a fantastic ride. Now the horse will get the credit that he deserves. He hasn’t had it yet.”
The Qipco Champion Stakes is likely to be the next target for The Grey Gatsby and Ryan said: “I’m immensely proud of the horse and it was a great ride. Now the horse will get the credit he deserves because he hasn’t had it yet. He saved a lot of ground on the inside and was passing horses without doing a lot. When I saw him picking up I thought he’d go close. He won’t go for the Arc. He might go to Ascot for the Champion Stakes if he runs again but he stays in training next year when he’ll start off in the Duty Free in Dubai.”
(source: Racing Post)