Irish Derby 2023: Auguste Rodin odds-on to repeat Epsom success
The 2023 Irish Derby odds suggest Auguste Rodin could become the 19th horse to do the Epsom-Curragh double by following up his victory in the English equivalent.
Dermot Weld’s Harzand was the last to achieve that feat in 2016, with legends such as Nijinsky, The Minstrel, Shergar and Galileo having gone before him.
Let’s take a look at the leading 2023 Irish Derby runners and their prospects:
Aidan O’Brien is eyeing a record-extending 15th Irish Derby triumph and his impressive Epsom hero will incredibly aim to give Ryan Moore a first win in this Classic.
The Deep Impact colt bounced back from a disappointing run in the 2000 Guineas to win England’s blue riband event in a taking manner, finishing strongly to pick off King Of Steel.
That runner-up went off as a 66/1 longshot but showed his admirable effort was no fluke when franking the form with a superb success in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Moore said: “I know the horse was disappointing at Newmarket, but there were reasons for that and Aidan always had complete belief in the horse. He is a horse that everyone always held in the highest regard from a very early stage.”
Coral’s David Stephens commented: “The form of Auguste Rodin’s Epsom victory was boosted by wins for both King Of Steel and Waipiro at Royal Ascot last week, and as a result he’s a red-hot favourite to complete a Classic double on Sunday, with his two closest market rivals both needing to reverse their Derby running with the Ballydoyle colt.”
Jessica Harrington’s charge was seven lengths back in fourth at Epsom but there were excuses for that performance, as he was sweating in the build-up and did not enjoy the run of the race or the camber of the home straight.
Sprewell had previously broken his duck in a Naas maiden before staying on well to claim a convincing victory in the Group Three Leopardstown Derby Trial, when Up And Under was three lengths back in second.
Harrington said: “I’m very happy with his preparation. He came out of Epsom very well and we’ve just slowly built him up. He’s a very laid-back character and it’s quite easy to keep the preparation going.
“Auguste Rodin is going to be very difficult to beat, but you’re always hoping. You don’t go into those races thinking, ‘I’ll be grand being second’. I want to go in there thinking, ‘I’ll be grand if I can win’.”
John Murphy’s charge also has a win over Up And Under on his CV, having come through late on to beat that rival by half a length in the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown.
White Birch went on to show that 22/1 success was no flash in the pan when finishing a neck second to The Foxes in the Dante at York and then plugging on for third in the Epsom Derby.
Young jockey Dylan Browne McMonagle, who was on board for last November’s Dundalk maiden win, has been booked to ride and connections are happy to have a rematch with Auguste Rodin.
“He is in great shape,” said County Cork-based handler Murphy. “I think we are happy enough to have another crack at him. I think we fancy our chances. He’s going the right way, definitely. We are going to be looking forward to a very nice run.
“The ground is heading as though there might be some juice in it, which won’t bother him either. He’ll have no bother with ground – he’s very versatile ground-wise. I think that would inconvenience others more than him, because in the trial (Ballysax) it was heavy.”
Still a maiden and has a bit to find with both Sprewell and White Birch, but Joseph O’Brien is never one to duck a challenge and will be full of confidence following a couple of Royal Ascot victories.
O’Brien is responsible for more than half of the field, with Epsom eighth Adelaide River, the 11th home San Antonio, last week’s Queen’s Vase seventh Peking Opera and Covent Garden completing his quintet. His son Donnacha is represented by Proud And Regal, who was a Group One winner in France as a juvenile but only seventh in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
All odds and markets correct at date of publication