Auguste Rodin powers to Derby glory for Aidan O’Brien.
Auguste Rodin showed his class at Epsom with an exceptional display to run down King Of Steel and provide Aidan O’Brien with a record-extending ninth victory in the Betfred Derby.
Described by the Ballydoyle handler as a “collector’s item” prior to the premier Classic, the son of Deep Impact had a point to prove having been bitterly disappointing when favourite for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Despite that he was still popular with backers ahead of the blue riband and having been sent off at 9-2 in the hands of Ryan Moore he set about tackling the undulations of the Surrey Downs from stall 10.
Settled in mid-division as stablemates San Antonio and Adelaide River dictated terms up front, with Frankie Dettori in his final Derby aboard Arrest and Sir Michael Stoute’s Passenger also close by, Moore was content to let the action unfold as Kevin Stott aboard the 66-1 outsider King Of Steel made an audacious bid for home after rounding Tattenham Corner.However, Roger Varian’s imposing runner soon had a target on his back and with Auguste Rodin eating into King Of Steel’s advantage with every stride, the highly-regarded colt was soon powering his way to pass that rival to give Moore his third Derby victory.
O’Brien said: “All the people in Coolmore have made this happen – this is a total homebred horse. It’s all credit to them to make this happen every day. He came with a massive reputation as a beautiful horse but he kept stepping up to all the markers all the way, which is very unusual.“He’s totally unique – he’s out of one of the greatest Galileo mares (Rhododendron) by the greatest stallion ever in Japan. I can’t tell you, he’s totally unique.“Ryan said it probably didn’t suit him, he would have preferred a lot stronger pace but he said he had to quicken twice, so obviously he’s so exciting for us.“I feel so grateful and so delighted for all the lads, everyone. It’s a great pleasure for us to have anything to do with him really.”
Reflecting on Auguste Rodin’s Newmarket reverse, O’Brien said: “It was one of those days. Kind of from a few days before, it all started to go wrong.“As we all know, it’s a funny game, it has to go round and everyone has to get their day. Sometimes you control the things you can control, but the variables that you can’t control all start falling against you and you can’t stop that.“From a couple of days before, we had the flight booked on the morning and then it all started going wrong then. Every step of the way, everything just fell against him.“The lads had the plan for him that he would do the three races (Triple Crown) and we knew the first one would be the toughest one because to do that everything had to fall right for him and everything went totally wrong.“He came out of the race great, that was the massive thing. Every day, riding him work, he was just getting better and more and more confident.”O’Brien continued: “Ryan was so cool, he knew the pressure was on and gave him a peach of a ride."