Auguste Rodin cut for Classic success
Coral make Auguste Rodin the 3/1 favourite for next year’s Derby and the joint-favourite for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas following his victory in the Vertem Futurity Trophy on Saturday.
The Deep Impact colt was a Group Two winner last time when landing the Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown and comfortably made the step up to Group One level at Doncaster.
Partnered by Ryan Moore, the son of Group One-winner Rhododendron was in a trio of runners on the stands side rail and breezed into the lead to defeat Epictetus as the 9/4 favourite.
Auguste Rodin was already among the leading lights in the betting for next year’s Derby before the race, but Coral now rank him as the 3/1 market leader for Epsom as well as the 5/1 joint-favourite alongside stablemate Little Big Bear in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.
Coral’s David Stevens said: “The season’s final Group One has an excellent record of providing future Classic clues, and Auguste Rodin looks well-placed to enhance that record, following a victory that has seen his odds tumble for both the 2,000 Guineas and Derby.”
Auguste Rodin wins the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at @DoncasterRaces for Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien…
Have we just seen the 2023 Derby winner? 👀pic.twitter.com/LyZw5yvASs
— Coral (@Coral) October 22, 2022
Trainer Aidan O’Brien had made no secret of concerns about the heavy ground before Saturday’s race, but he was delighted to see his charge prevail.
He said: “He’s a lovely horse, the lads (owners Coolmore) have always loved him, he’s out of Rhododendron and by Deep Impact so it was amazing to send a mare over to Deep Impact and it turns out he’s from his last crop.
“He’s a very smart horse but we were worried about the ground. He’s got a lovely attitude, he’s a fine big horse and a lovely mover so he has everything you’d look for in a good horse.”
O’Brien added: “Next year it depends what the lads want to do as always, but I’d imagine he’d have no trouble starting off in a Guineas and then go on after that.
“He’s a very smart horse and he’ll be very happy going up to a mile and a quarter and even a mile and a half in the Derby. It’s very exciting.”
In Saturday’s race, the eight-strong field split into two groups, with the winner, his stablemate Salt Lake City and Epictetus making up the group on the near side while Stormbuster cut out the early pace for the overall lead on the far rail.
Auguste Rodin looked well in control of his task throughout, with Moore just biding his time before making his challenge, but there was some late drama as Holloway Boy hung dramatically across the track after grabbing the advantage with two furlongs to run.
His wayward course cost him plenty of ground and he had no answer to the winner or runner-up in the finish, with Auguste Rodin coming home a three-and-a-half-length victor, while Epictetus had a length and three-quarters in hand over third-placed Holloway Boy.
Moore felt his mount deserved plenty of credit after emerging best in something of a tactical affair.
He said: “I wouldn’t say it worked out well but he’s a very good horse. Since the start of the year he always showed he had a lot of quality, he’s very natural and had good pace but he just hadn’t quite done what we thought he might, we always thought there was more there.
“He does everything with plenty of pace, he’s got a lot of quality. He had to win two races today because they were always ahead on the other side and then he had to hold Frankie off (on Epictetus). He had to beat him first and then when the other one (Holloway Boy) came over, he had to see him off.
“He was comfortable on the ground but he’s such a fluent mover, you are never sure if holding ground is going to suit them.”
2023 Derby odds
3/1 Auguste Rodin
12/1 Al Riffa
16/1 Imperial Emperor, Nostrum, Proud And Regal
20/1 Continuous, Espionage, Flying Honours, Naval Power
25/1 Alexandroupolis, Crypto Force, Denmark, Dubai Mile, Highbank, Military Order, Noble Style, The Foxes
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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication