Auguste Rodin bounced back from his humbling defeat in the 2,000 Guineas to etch his name in the history of flat racing by winning The Derby. Aidan O’Brien’s charge returned to the track after losing his first race of the campaign and claimed the win by half-a-length, securing the title for his trainer for the first time since 2020.
O’Brien will now have one eye on the future for his champion horse with the Irish Derby, The Eclipse and King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the agenda in the short term, while beyond that few could blame the Irishman for looking at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October in a bid to win the title for the first time in seven years.
Auguste Rodin is backed at 6/1 in the odds for horse racing bets on the event, narrowly ahead of other strong contenders such as Ace Impact and Emily Upjohn. It promises to be a thriller between horses of a similar calibre and O’Brien has work ahead of him to prepare his charge for the contest.
Auguste Rodin has been the favourite before ahead of the 2,000 Guineas, where he failed spectacularly in his opening race of the season at Newmarket. He was the consensus favourite for the contest ahead of his stablemate Little Big Bear and Chaldean. However, both O’Brien horses had a day to forget in the race as Auguste Rodin finished well off the pace down in 12th as he struggled to find his rhythm from the off and then weakened towards the end of the race to drop down the standings. Little Big Bear endured a worse fate as he placed last, with O’Brien suggesting that both of his charges were not quite suited to the demands of the race compared to the winner Chaldean.
🏆ALKUMAIT’s brother CHALDEAN wins the 2000 Guineas @newmarket_racecourses.— Capital Bloodstock (@CapitalBldst) May 6, 2023
✨Showcasing’s best bred son at stud, his pedigree keeps getting better and better.
HE IS A 🎞️
🕰️Gr.2 Mill Reef winner in a record time
💶brother to Gr.1 2000 Guineas & Gr.1 Dewhurst winner. pic.twitter.com/FP2Cezcgu4
There were comments from pundits beforehand that Auguste Rodin would be a better horse over a greater distance at The Derby. But Arrest and Military Order were considered the better bets at the Epsom Downs for the title. Ryan Moore and Auguste Rodin earned redemption for their performances at the Guineas with a brilliant display to take the crown. Moore endured criticism along with other jockeys for O’Brien’s last win at The Derby in 2020 as Serpentine led from start to finish in a stunning victory.
There would be no surprise this time around as O’Brien’s top charge was on his mettle down the stretch. Moore timed the surge to perfection as he gained ground on King of Steel before allowing his charge to push through and beat out his rival on the line. It highlighted the speed and stamina of Auguste Rodin under the bright lights, and O’Brien will be desperate for that theme to continue in the second half of the season. O’Brien last won the Arc with Found in 2016, so it has been a period of time for a trainer of his quality to go without arguably the top title in European horse racing.
AUGUSTE RODIN WINS THE DERBY! pic.twitter.com/zoqZoH54tX— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) June 3, 2023
There are minute differences between the distances in The Derby and the Arc, but Auguste Rodin has shown that he has the capability for a sprint when required. The setback at Newmarket at the start of the season might just have given O’Brien, Auguste Rodin and Moore the edge they need to conquer middle-distance racing in the UK, Ireland and France in the second half of the flat season.