Auguste Rodin became the first horse to sweep the Epsom – Irish Derby since Harzand in 2016 with a workmanlike victory to hand Aidan O’Brien a remarkable 100th win in a European Classic.
Widely expected to oblige following his win Epsom and sent off the 4/11 favourite as a result, Auguste Rodin got the better of his stablemate Adelaide River to win by a length-and-a-half under Ryan Moore, for whom it was a first Irish Derby win. While the result was a good one for Ballydoyle, especially with Auguste Rodin’s future stallion career in mind, the outfit also suffered the loss of its Dee Stakes winner San Antonio, whose breakdown four furlongs out hampered a handful of the field.
“It wasn’t a straightforward race, unfortunately,” said Ryan Moore. “It’s very windy today – we’ve got a big headwind down the back and a gale blowing behind us down the straight.
“We went very steady the first half of the race and for me, my horse was going a gear too low down the back. I’d like to have been going on a stride. I was going to angle out to come around Wayne [Lordan, on San Antonio] and that went wrong, and I had to switch back in. The horse in front [Adelaide River] was getting a very easy time so I had to go to him early.
“My horse waits a bit when you get to the front. He’s done what he’s had to do today. Circumstances conspired against him but he still won. He hasn’t turned a hair and there’s plenty more to come.”
Paying tribute to Aidan O’Brien, Moore added: “It’s such a big team effort. There’s a reason why he’s got these records and I’m very lucky to have ridden for him as long as I have. He wants the best the whole time. The amount of work he does is quite incredible.”
From the last tiny crop of Japanese supersire Deep Impact, Auguste Rodin is the first foal out of the Lockinge Stakes, Prix de l’Opera and Fillies’ Mile heroine Rhododendron. The daughter of Galileo is out of Halfway To Heaven, whose three Group 1 victories included the Irish 1,000 Guineas, and is therefore a sister to champion Magical.