The artist formerly known as the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (G1) fourth has been reinvented as a miler and is now trying the shortest trip of his career, but the poser for punters is whether Order of Australia will have the speed to cope with the seven furlongs of the Romanised Minstrel Stakes (G2) July 18 at the Curragh.
He certainly didn’t look slow when landing the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (G1T) at Keeneland, that’s for sure. There he traveled with real enthusiasm throughout and showed a good attitude to fend off the late surge of stablemate Circus Maximus .
Order of Australia arrives on the back of a disappointing effort in the Queen Anne (G1) where the surprisingly sedate pace didn’t suit, but these are much shallower waters and he is 10 pounds better than everything else on official ratings. Class could prevail.
“Order of Australia is in good form and this looked a nice race for him,” said trainer Aidan O’Brien. “Ascot was just a bit of a mess; they didn’t go fast and the way the race panned out didn’t suit him. We’ve been happy with everything he’s done since Ascot and he seems to be in very good form.”
You know what you are going to get with Njord . He’s a battle-hardened 5-year-old who is almost guaranteed to run somewhere close to his mark of 109 if he shows up.
That could be a big ‘if,’ though, as fast ground is not his thing. He has won on good ground, but his other four victories either had soft or heavy in the going description.
In stark contrast, stablemate Ace Aussie will relish conditions. His second to Poetic Flare in the Ballylinch Stud Red Rocks Two Thousand Guineas Trial at Leopardstown back in April looks red-hot form now and the fifth home that day was last weekend’s Haras d’Etreham Prix Jean Prat (G1) winner Laws of Indices . He looks a leading player.
“We’ve been waiting for a bit of nice ground for Ace Aussie and he gets that here which is great,” said Jessica Harrington, trainer of Njord and Ace Aussie. “You’d have to be delighted with his two runs this season and he’s in great order at home.
“Njord is good too, but I’d like to make sure the ground is safe for him to run. It will depend on how much water they’ve put on it.”
The race revolves around Order of Australia. If he is back in the sort of form that saw him dazzle at Keeneland, he will be hard to beat. If not, Ace Aussie could be the one to pick up the pieces.