Australia 5/1 for Arc
Australia is challenging for Arc favouritism after bashing the bookies by winning the Investec Derby at Epsom.
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Trainer Aidan O'Brien has long held Australia in high regard and the colt didn't disappoint on Saturday, winning by a length and a quarter from Kingston Hill (15/2) having been sent off at 11/8. Romsdal was third at 20/1.
It was O'Brien's fifth win in the Classic and his third in a row following Camelot and Ruler Of The World. With many punters having followed the winning trend, William Hill described the result as their worst ever in the Derby.
The bookies reacted by slashing Australia's price to win the autumn middle-distance showpiece at Longchamp.
The Betfred-totesport stable and Stan James, made the colt their joint favourite alongside last year's winner Treve at 4/1, while bet365 went even further and installed the horse as their new jolly at 7/2.
However, most firms kept Treve, due to run next at Royal Ascot, at the head of their market. Several firms, including Sky Bet and Paddy Power, were prepared to dangle 5/1 about another win for Australia.
Kingston Hill was also cut in the same market with 14/1 the best left following his strong run.
Australia, sired by a former Derby winner Galileo with Oaks winner Ouija Board as a dam, is also now favourite for the St Leger. Stan James offer 3/1 about the colt winning the final Classic of the season which is run over a further quarter of a mile in September.
O'Brien's star had drifted out as big as 9/4 on the morning of the Derby after heavy rain hit the course but it soon passed and in the afternoon the price contracted again as punters piled on.
William Hill's Kate Miller said: "We're facing close to a £5million payout after Australia's win. Every type of punter wanted to be on Australia today.
"Ballydoyle maintain he's the best they've ever had. He's the worst Derby result we've ever seen."
Ladbrokes' David Williams added: "We went into the race with a one-horse book. We were cheering anything but Australia, but the racing gods ignored us. It was a desperate result for bookmakers."
Rory Jiwani, of San James, echoed those thoughts, saying: "We were praying for heavy rain this morning to hinder Australia's chances but we didn't get nearly enough - the ground had returned to good a couple of races before the Derby.
"Australia was our only loser in the book and a huge one at that. Anything else would have done for us but hats off to the winner and to Aidan O'Brien who made no secret of how good he thought he was."
Sky Bet's Michael Shinners said all eyes would now be on future plans.
"The accusation has always been there's more hype than substance in the formbook about Australlia but that all changed at Epsom," he said.
"Along with Kingston Hill he pulled clear of what looked a deep field and it will be fascinating to see where connections go with him."
All O'Brien would say in the wake of victory was: "The lads (Coolmore) will speak about targets. He has a lot of options because he has a lot of pace, anything from a mile up.''
On the same card, Cirrus Des Aigles won the Coronation Cup at 10/11 but afterwards trainer Corine Barande-Barbe said the horse would not run at Royal Ascot.
Cirrus Des Aigles is expected to run in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud instead.
That resulted in Treve hardening for the Prince Of Wales's Stakes with most firms going odds-on.
Baitha Alga, the 15/8 jolly, won the Woodcote Stakes and is now 14/1 with Stan James for the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Caspian Prince won the Investec Dash at 9/1 but it was the horses who finished second and fourth - Seeking Magic and Steps - who had had an effect on the ante-post markets.
Seeking Magic was cut for the Wokingham at Royal Ascot after finishing runner-up in a photo finish and after the market settled was a general 16/1 chance.
Steps was left for dead at the start and with a strong finish it could be argued would have won on another day.
Ladbrokes were impressed by the run and went into 16s for the King's Stand Stakes. Coral were happy to lay 40/1 though.