Luxembourg, Auguste Rodin Irish Champion-bound

Aidan O'Brien over seeing his team | INPHO

Trainer Aidan O'Brien indicated MG1SWs Luxembourg (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) and Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) would return in Leopardstown's G1 Royal Bahrain Irish Champion S. on Sept. 9. The stablemates were last seen in the G1 King George and Queen Elizabeth S. at Ascot on July 29, where Luxembourg was a hard-fought fourth while the dual Derby winner came home a distant 10th.

Their conditioner could find no obvious reason for the poor showing but remained hopeful the son of the late Deep Impact could bounce back at Leopardstown.

“We're very happy with Luxembourg, everything has gone very well,” said the Ballydoyle handler of the 4-year-old, who took the 2022 renewal of Leopardstown's 10-furlong test. “The King George is a tough race and he was on the pace. The plan is at the moment both he and Auguste Rodin are going to Leopardstown.”

He continued, “Really, we don't know what happened to Auguste in the King George. He was drawn very wide and trapped very wide and he came off the bridle a lot earlier than Ryan [Moore] would have thought. It's probably a blessing in disguise, as if he came off the bridle at the stage, he was probably going to get a very tough race. For a baby 3-year-old, he was probably lucky he didn't get into a brawl and he came home very well.”

Regardless of what happens the rest of the season, O'Brien hinted that the Classic-winning sophomore was unlikely to return for a 4-year-old season.

“He's such a unique horse pedigree-wise he's kind of irreplaceable really,” he said.

Also on tap to resurface on Irish Champions Festival weekend is Kyprios (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), 20-length winner of the G1 Qatar Prix du Cadran in his final appearance in 2022 which saw him go unbeaten for that season. Injury ruling out a return in the first half of 2023, the colt is looking to defend his G1 Comer Group International Irish St. Leger crown at the Curragh Sept. 10.

“Four months ago, you'd have said he'll never race again. He got an infection in his joint and then the ligament down the outside of his pastern shifted, so it became unstable,” said O'Brien. “Everyone has done a wonderful job with him. If we got a run into him, we'll look towards [ParisLongchamp, Oct. 1] Arc weekend again, either the Arc or the Cadran, but I would imagine the Arc would be too much too quick for him.”

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