Auguste Rodin Wins The Prince of Wales's, a 400th Group 1 for Aidan O'Brien

Auguste RodinMegan Coggin

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Granted the ideal conditions of fast ground and a true pace to run at, Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}–Rhododendron {Ire}, by Galileo {Ire}) carved a landmark 400th group 1 success for Aidan O'Brien as he became the first Derby hero to come back and win at Royal Ascot since Royal Palace (GB) in 1968. Unique in his achievement in that he was augmenting his Blue Riband triumph with this feature prize in its current guise as a group 1, Ballydoyle's ground-breaking colt put any doubts that he was yesterday's horse following his defeat in the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup firmly behind him.

Travelling in ideal flow in fourth behind the two pacemakers and outsider Royal Rhyme (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), the 13-8 favourite moved to the front two out where it was the French raiders Horizon Dore (Fr) (Dabirsim {Fr}) and Zarakem (Fr) (Zarak {Fr}) who emerged as threats and not the slow-starting and ultimately disappointing Inspiral (GB) (Frankel {GB}). It was the 33-1 shot Zarakem who got closest in the dying strides, but the winner was never going to allow them less than the 3/4-of-a-length margin that was called at the line. Zarakem denied Horizon Dore, who met notable trouble in running, the runner-up spot by a length as Inspiral wound up sixth with John Gosden citing lack of stamina as the issue.

“He gets to the front and he waits and then goes again and that's what makes him very good,” Aidan O'Brien said of his fifth winner of this race–equalling the records of Sir Henry Cecil and John Gosden–and the one that provided an 87th at the Royal meeting. “Auguste Rodin is a very special horse. He gets a mile and a half very well and I was probably giving instructions wrong all along. We were riding him too far back so we changed everything. Ryan said he was going to ride him positive, engage him straight away, as he'll get up there and cruise off any pace. He has a personality, like all the good ones do–they have to develop a personality to become good.”

This was as straightforward as rides in group 1 races here can get, with Moore able to follow the required pace ahead of all his chief rivals, kick soon into the straight and get the rail. While the French runners had to check at different stages coming from behind, Auguste Rodin was doing what he does best up ahead. Appearing to idle approaching the final furlong with Royal Rhyme beaten, he gave his surge once Horizon Dore emerged at his flanks and was in his unstoppable momentum as Zarakem came with his impressive late effort.

“He is a proper horse,” Moore said after registering his own landmark, with this 81st Royal Ascot winner meaning that he draws level with Dettori. “There have been reasons every time it hasn't happened for him. The King George was maybe coming after a hard run in both Derbys and people are always very quick to knock horses, but he's a group 1 winner at two, won four group 1s last year and showed great courage today. He wanted to win. He has been a real good horse and did everything beautifully today.”

Aidan O'Brien will be keen to keep Auguste Rodin away from slow ground, but he is not averse to having a go at the dirt at some point. “He has everything–the action, the movement, the temperament, the pedigree,” he said. “The lads will decide what they want to do, but he can do anything really. He can go to America–we were very surprised when he went to the dirt with the way he handled it. He cruises and the great thing about him is now we see that he's very happy to be ridden forwards. I think now we are more confident that we have worked him out and can keep it very straightforward. It's his high cruise that's important.”

Zarakem ran some noteworthy splits as he lunged from the back and it is clear that connections have a high-class horse to take on to the international stage. “On his reappearance this year, he won a group 2 on heavy ground and today he's been second in a very hot race at Royal Ascot in a group 1 on firm ground, so he can do everything,” trainer Jerome Reynier said. “He is a complete athlete, improving with age, mentally and physically.”

“He is entered in the Arc at the end of the year, because he does Longchamp so well and he seems to have plenty of stamina,” Reynier added. “This was his first time abroad and out of France, so it opens many, many doors and we'll see if we will be back for the King George in a few weeks' time. We don't want to rush him and we can keep the Arc as a final target for the year.”

Pauline Chehboub said of Horizon Dore, “He showed again he is a group 1 horse and we are very happy. We will see the plan for the second half of the season, but maybe it will be the Champion Stakes. He's an easy horse, more and more macho with age–he's a super horse.”

John Gosden said of Inspiral, who lost her chance with one of her slower starts. “They've gone very, very hard and I think, quite frankly, over the mile and a quarter here, she's just been caught out for stamina. She's won group 1s over a mile and over a very easy mile and a quarter at Santa Anita and I think stamina-wise, she just got caught today. She came with a run and the last furlong was too far for her. A Derby winner has won it, he's got the trip well and shown a lot of grit at the end.”

 

Pedigree Notes
Auguste Rodin is the first foal out of the aforementioned five-times group 1-winning champion Rhododendron, like fellow Ballydoyle and Galileo heavyweight Magical (Ire) a daughter of the excellent Halfway To Heaven (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}). She captured the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Nassau Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes at the top level before becoming such a key broodmare for Coolmore, with her Magical winning a remarkable seven of these including a Champion Stakes and Irish Champion.

Halfway To Heaven is the leading performer for Trevor Stewart's high-class sprinter Cassandra Go (Ire)
(Indian Ridge {Ire}), responsible also for the G3 Abernant Stakes and G3 Sandown Sprint Stakes winner Tickled Pink (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire})–later dam of the stable's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf hero Victoria Road (Ire) by Deep Impact's son Saxon Warrior (Jpn)–and the G3 Summer Stakes winner Theann (GB) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}) who in turn produced Galileo's GI First Lady Stakes and GI Rodeo Stakes heroine Photo Call (Ire). Rhododendron's yearling colt and colt foal are both by Dubawi (Ire).

Wednesday, Royal Ascot, Britain
PRINCE OF WALES'S STAKES-G1, £1,000,000, Ascot, 6-19, 4yo/up, 9f 212yT, 2:03.12, g/f.
1–AUGUSTE RODIN (IRE), 128, c, 4, by Deep Impact (Jpn)
     1st Dam: Rhododendron (Ire) (G1SW-Fr, MG1SW-Eng, GSW & G1SP-Ire, GISP-US, $1,786,763), by Galileo (Ire)
     2nd Dam: Halfway To Heaven (Ire), by Pivotal (GB)
     3rd Dam: Cassandra Go (Ire), by Indian Ridge (Ire)
TDN Rising Star. O-M Tabor/D Smith/Mrs J Magnier/Westerberg; B-Coolmore (IRE); T-Aidan O'Brien; J-Ryan Moore. £567,100. Lifetime Record: MG1SW-Ire & GISW-US, 13-8-2-0, $5,782,288. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the Zarak (Fr)--Harem Mistress (Ire), by Mastercraftsman (Ire). 1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. (€85,000 Ylg '21 ARQDOY; €500,000 HRA '23 ARARC). O-Ecurie Benaroussi Sofiane/Haras d'Etreham; B-Jean-Paul Cayrouze (FR); T-Jerome Reynier. £215,000. 3--Horizon Dore (Fr), 128, g, 4, Dabirsim (Fr)--Sweet Alabama (Fr), by Enrique (GB). (€45,000 Ylg '21 ARAUG). O-Gousserie Racing/Ecurie Gribomont/F Delaunay; B-Chantal Becq (FR); T-Patrice Cottier. £107,600. Margins: 3/4, 1, 2. Odds: 1.63, 33.00, 7.00. Also Ran: Alflaila (GB), Royal Rhyme (Ire), Inspiral (GB), Blue Rose Cen (Ire), Lord North (Ire), Hans Andersen (GB), Snobbish (Ire).">eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Zarakem (Fr), 128, c, 4, Zarak (Fr)–Harem Mistress (Ire), by Mastercraftsman (Ire).
1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. (€85,000 Ylg '21 ARQDOY; €500,000 HRA '23 ARARC). O-Ecurie Benaroussi Sofiane/Haras d'Etreham; B-Jean-Paul Cayrouze (FR); T-Jerome Reynier. £215,000.
3–Horizon Dore (Fr), 128, g, 4, Dabirsim (Fr)–Sweet Alabama (Fr), by Enrique (GB). (€45,000 Ylg '21 ARAUG). O-Gousserie Racing/Ecurie Gribomont/F Delaunay; B-Chantal Becq (FR); T-Patrice Cottier. £107,600.
Margins: 3/4, 1, 2. Odds: 1.63, 33.00, 7.00.
Also Ran: Alflaila (GB), Royal Rhyme (Ire), Inspiral (GB), Blue Rose Cen (Ire), Lord North (Ire), Hans Andersen (GB), Snobbish (Ire).

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