Derby Glory For Deep Impact's Auguste Rodin

Auguste Rodin defeates King Of Steel in the DerbyPA Media


Bouncing back from his disappointment in the 2000 Guineas, TDN Rising Star Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}–Rhododendron {Ire}, by Galileo {Ire}) conquered Epsom's undulations to carry off a ninth G1 Betfred Derby for Aidan O'Brien. Sent off at 9-2 as the punters dallied over this year's favourite, the G1 Futurity Trophy winner was kept back from the early action by Ryan Moore worse than mid-division. Launched wide as the 66-1 shot King Of Steel (Wootton Bassett {GB}) cut loose approaching two out, the bay took until the last 100 yards to wear down Amo Racing's seasonal debutante but forged ahead late on for a half-length success.

There was a 4 3/4-length gap between the Roger Varian-trained runner-up, who had trailed Auguste Rodin by nearly 10 lengths when last seen at Doncaster, and White Birch (GB) (Ulysses {Ire}) with the unlucky-in-running Sprewell (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}) beaten another 1 3/4 lengths in fourth. Predictably, Frankie's final Derby ride Arrest (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) was sent off the 4-1 favourite, but after racing prominently could only manage 10th. The winning time of 2:33.88 was 1/10 second away from that recorded by Emily Upjohn (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) in Friday's G1 Coronation Cup and almost three seconds faster than the Oaks.

“He's totally unique,” the master of Ballydoyle commented after witnessing the completion of the great turnaround. “All the people in Coolmore have made this happen–it's all credit to them. 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 out of one of the greatest Galileo mares by the greatest stallion ever in Japan.”


“Ryan actually said he'd have preferred a lot stronger pace there and he had to quicken twice,” O'Brien added. “Everything fell against him in the Guineas, but he came out of it great which was a massive thing and every day in his work he was just getting better and more and more confident. Ryan gave him an incredible ride–he was so cool, as he knew the pressure was on him but he had a free hand going out.”

“It was Ryan who rode him last February when he was a 2-year-old and had said he was very special, so you can imagine what he was like then,” O'Brien concluded. “His movement has always been spectacular–he has such an economical way of going and is very different. We always felt he was the most special horse we have had at Ballydoyle. These type of horses come here and if they're good enough, we often have a look at the Irish Derby but the lads make all those decisions and all the options are open to him.”

Introduced over seven furlongs at The Curragh a year and two days before his Blue Riband heroics, Auguste Rodin had looked desperately unlucky to miss out on a debut win as he met serious trouble in running against the subsequent G2 Beresford S. winner Crypto Force (GB) (Time Test {GB}). Handed his TDN Rising Star badge at Naas a month later, he proved that award to be justified with wins in Leopardstown's G2 Champions Juvenile S. and Doncaster's Futurity and entered the 2000 Guineas surrounded by all the clamour and hype that Triple Crown talk generates.

In the event, the Newmarket Classic descended quickly into calamity for the Rosegreen contingent, but the past experience of the likes of Power (GB) and One Cool Cat served as a reminder that this stable's class acts can very quickly regain kudos following a dismal display there. Seven days after the fire within fellow Guineas flop Little Big Bear (Ire) (No Nay Never) was successfully rekindled at Haydock, it was Auguste Rodin's turn to provide a personal renaissance at the track that is the most unforgiving of any weakness.

If luck was against Auguste Rodin at Newmarket, it was on his side here as he was handed the famous stall 10 which housed Friday's Oaks winner Soul Sister (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) and from which Shahrastani, Reference Point (GB), Nashwan, Quest For Fame (GB), Generous (Ire), Galileo (Ire), Sir Percy (GB), Ruler Of The World (Ire) and Masar (Ire) all emerged. Settled back down the field as his stablemates Adelaide River (Ire) (Australia {GB}) and San Antonio (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) took over from Arrest and Frankie, the eventual winner was able to coast throughout an uneventful first mile and ended up in the Soul Sister position out wide and out of trouble entering the straight.

As the obligatory scrimmaging took place to his inner passing three out, with the runners still tanking from the downhill section onto the crazy camber, Sprewell was the one to hit the wall as happens virtually every year with Shane Foley finding the door abruptly shut. Either side of Jessie Harrington's stricken colt, Ryan Moore was going through the gears while Kevin Stott somehow managed to launch the enormous King Of Steel through the tight spaces and into the clear.

A colt the size of the runner-up should have been compromised by this terrain, but King Of Steel proved surprisingly athletic and nimble as he skipped away from the pack and his only serious pursuer two out. If Stott's Derby dream was alive and kicking for over a furlong, it was dying as Moore arrived alongside with his inimitable drive. Whether the last 100 yards was about Auguste Rodin's superiority or King Of Steel's lack of match practice will only be known when the pair encounter each other again, but this was the day of Ballydoyle's beau ideal who avenged the defeat of his dam in the 2017 Oaks.

Ryan Moore, who was garnering a third Derby, said, “We landed in a smooth spot and I was always confident I had them covered. It turned in to a bit of a dash and he was a bit babyish, but I just had to get into him in the last furlong there and he responded very gamely. He's done that quite cosily, I think.” Paying tribute to the training performance, he added, “He's the only man that could do it. I've seen him get horses back. There have been horses that have run bad in the Guineas and have come back like Roderic O'Connor and even Qualify ran bad in a Guineas and came and won an Oaks. Aidan can just do things.”

Roger Varian said of the runner-up, “He ran a terrific race, but I'm gutted really. I'm delighted with the way he behaved and his performance and I think he's a good one, but this is a bittersweet moment. Credit to the winning team and credit to mine, as he came here in great shape.” Stott added, “There are a few emotions as you hit the front in the Derby and I'm kicking myself a bit as to whether I went to the front too early. Then again, the fact that he hasn't had a run this year might have caught him out in the last 50 yards. We were beaten by a very good horse and there are better things to come I'm sure.”

George Murphy said of White Birch, whose antics at the start proved at least some of his undoing, “He just hesitated again at the gates and got himself into a difficult position, but ran a blinder and Colin [Keane] gave him a great ride considering how it played out early on. He galloped all the way to the line, so if all goes well I'd say the Irish Derby will probably be the plan. We're going to have to try and work on his starting and it's going to have to improve–he's not worried about it, he just gets a bit excited more than anything and we're over the moon just to have a horse like him.”

Pedigree Notes

Auguste Rodin, who is one of his remarkable sire's 59 top-level winners, is the first foal out of the five-times group 1-winning champion Rhododendron who was able to land a Lockinge at a mile and beat all bar Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) over this course and distance. This is one of the best pedigrees anywhere, with the second dam the excellent Halfway To Heaven (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}) who captured three at this level including the Irish 1000 Guineas and who also provided connections with Galileo's outstanding Magical (Ire), the seven-times group 1 winner.

Halfway To Heaven is out of the multiple group-winning sprinter supreme Cassandra Go (Ire) (Indian Ridge {Ire}), whose other black-type winners include the G3 Abernant S. and G3 Sandown Sprint S. scorer Tickled Pink (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) and the G3 Summer S. winner Theann (GB) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire). Tickled Pink produced the stable's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Victoria Road (Ire) (Saxon Warrior {Jpn}), while Theann is responsible for Galileo's GI First Lady S. and GI Rodeo S. heroine Photo Call (Ire) and the G2 Richmond S.-winning first-season sire Land Force (Ire). Next up from Rhododendron is a colt foal by Dubawi (Ire).

Saturday, Epsom, Britain
BETFRED DERBY-G1, £1,561,950, Epsom, 6-3, 3yo, 12f 6yT, 2:33.88, g/f.
1–AUGUSTE RODIN (IRE), 128, c, 3, 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. £885,782. Lifetime Record: GSW-Ire, 6-4-1-0, $235,895. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–King Of Steel, 128, c, 3, Wootton Bassett (GB)–Eldacar (GB), by Verglas (Ire).
1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE, 1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. ($200,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP). O-Amo Racing Limited; B-BCF Services LLC (Bonne Chance Farm LLC) (KY); T-Roger Varian. £335,819.
3–White Birch (GB), 128, c, 3, Ulysses (Ire)–Diagnostic (GB), by Dutch Art (GB).
1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. (75,000gns Wlg '20 TATFOA; 48,000gns RNA Ylg '21 TATOCT). O-Mrs C C Regalado-Gonzalez; B-Cheveley Park Stud Limited (GB); T-John Joseph Murphy. £168,066.
Margins: HF, 4 3/4, 1 3/4. Odds: 4.50, 66.00, 12.00.
Also Ran: Sprewell (Ire), The Foxes (Ire), Waipiro (Ire), Artistic Star (Ire), Adelaide River (Ire), Dubai Mile (Ire), Arrest (Ire), San Antonio (Ire), Passenger, Dear My Friend (GB), Military Order (Ire).

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Classic Winners On Course For Arc
  2. A Continuous Quest for New Frontiers
  3. The Curragh: O'Brien Prepares Beresford Assault
  4. O'Brien Relies On “Classy” Cherry Blossom To Plunder Goffs Million Riches
  5. Heart's Cry's Continuous Clinches The Leger For Ballydoyle

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.