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"Auguste Rodin is the main horse" - O'Brien outlines his Derby plans

25 May 2023
Jon Vine 25 May 2023
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  • Key quotes from Ireland's Champion Trainer Aidan O'Brien
  • Auguste Rodin remains the number one Derby hope for Ballydoyle
  • San Antonio, Adelaide River and Continuous could also run at Epsom
aidan o'brien epsom
Aidan O'Brien at Epsom.(Getty)

Auguste Rodin remains the best hope Ballydoyle has of winning a ninth Epsom Derby, according to Aidan O'Brien.

A possible Triple Crown bid had been mooted for Auguste Rodin at the start of the season. O'Brien's star juvenile went into the first leg of that audacious treble, the 2000 Guineas as the firm favourite. Yet, nothing seemed to go right for the market leader.

Ryan Moore's mount met trouble in-running, which was caused mainly by stablemate Little Big Bear. Once asked for an effort, Auguste Rodin offered little in the way of a response, trailing over the line 12th in a 14-horse field.

"All the signs are very good with him since (the 2000 Guineas)." O'Brien told the Irish Examiner. 

"We just put a line through it and look forward on to the Derby because that was always the plan. We're looking forward to that now."

"We think what happened was that Little Big Bear got galloped into and he got knocked over on top of Auguste Rodin and wiped him out.

"Then he ended up getting caught in a pocket for a couple of furlongs. It was a bit of a non-event and Ryan (Moore) accepted it.

"We always knew that for him going to the Guineas every single thing was going to have to fall right for him because he is a middle-distance horse."

"Obviously it didn't and the rest is history. What we are very happy with is the way he came out of the race, he came out of it very well."

Despite that dismal showing at Newmarket, Auguste Rodin remains the second-favourite for the 2023 Epsom Derby. Only Charlie Appleby's Military Order - who won the Derby Trial at Lingfield - has jumped ahead of the former ante-post favourite.

Aidan O'Brien could have as many as four runners in this year's Epsom Derby. San Antonio impressed when winning the Dee Stakes at Chester. Adelaide River and Continuous also hold entries. However, O'Brien was keen to stress during the interview that Auguste Rodin remains their top contender.

"There are other horses in it, but I'd imagine he'll definitely be the main one." O'Brien continued. "Obviously by far Auguste Rodin is the main horse (for Epsom) and always was."

"San Antonio, who won in Chester, could go to the French Derby the day after (Epsom) and Adelaide River, who was second in Chester, could go that way as well."

"Continuous is a horse that hasn't had a clear run, and had three of four hold-ups. That's why it's taken so long to get him out."

"He was kind of 75% or a little bit more so he needed to get out and run. That's why we were really happy with his run, he's going to progress a lot from there."

"He might be a horse that might like a flat track, I'm not sure, and maybe Epsom is going to come too quick for him. He could be a horse for Ascot or the Curragh."


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