19 June 2024

Auguste Rodin returns to his brilliant best in Prince of Wales’s Stakes

19 June 2024

Auguste Rodin rewarded those who kept the faith with a brilliantly determined victory in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot – providing trainer Aidan O’Brien with a 400th Group or Grade One triumph on the Flat.

The son of Deep Impact is a superb colt on his day, as evidenced by his big-race successes in the Derby, Irish Derby, Irish Champion Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Turf last season.

However, he has also not been the easiest to predict, disappointing as a hot favourite in both the 2000 Guineas and the King George as a three-year-old and on his four-year-old debut in the Dubai Sheema Classic, while he was no match for White Birch on his most recent outing in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.

Despite the doubts, Auguste Rodin was the 13-8 market leader to show his true colours once more and tracked the pacesetting pair of Snobbish and Hans Andersen into the straight, before hitting the front under Ryan Moore.

He was strongly challenged by the French-trained duo of Zarakem and Horizon Dore in the final furlong, but answered Moore’s every call to see off the former by three-quarters of a length.

O’Brien said: “I’m so delighted for the lads, he’s a very special horse. He gets a mile and a half very well, but when he gets to the front he waits, so I was probably giving him the wrong instructions all along. We were riding him too far back and when there was no pace, he was too far out of the race.

“We changed everything, Ryan said he was going to ride him positive from now on and engage him straight away.

“Honestly, I feel the blips were my fault, the instructions were wrong, and it was time to start getting it right.

“We saw today, when he gets to the front he waits, and then he goes again.

“He has a personality. Good horses, they have to develop a personality. And Ryan gave him a very special ride.

“He can do anything, he can go to America – it’s totally dependent on what the lads want to do.

“We were very surprised when he went to the dirt (working before Breeders’ Cup Turf) how he handled it, he cruises. The great thing about him now is that he’s happy to be ridden forward. Now we’re more confident that we’ve worked him out. He can cruise off any pace and he’s very straightforward.”

“I promise, I feel the blips were my fault, the instructions were wrong and it took us time to start getting it right.

“We saw today, when he gets to the front he waits, and then he goes again. He has the action, the movement, the pedigree, the temperament. He’s very special and Ryan gave him a very special ride. What can I say? He does it day in, day out.”

On a potential clash with this year’s Derby winner City Of Troy, O’Brien played a straight bat, adding: The lads will decide that, I’m hoping there will be no need.

“The lads will decide, but I’m hoping there’ll never be any need! When those horses come along you want to pick slots for them, space them out, appreciate them and enjoy them.”

Moore said: “He’s a great little horse.

“OK, a few times it hasn’t happened, but there have been reasons every time. The King George was maybe coming after a hard run in both Derbys, which is a hard thing to do.

“He took me there, going very well, and when I asked him he really showed great courage. He wanted to win.

“He’s a proper horse.”

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