Remarkable comeback results in trainer notching a record-breaking Derby victory

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  • Trainer Aidan O’Brien notched up a record-breaking ninth Epsom Derby victory when Auguste Rodin won the Betfred-sponsored race earlier this afternoon (3 June) under Ryan Moore.

    Auguste Rodin, who is owned by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Mrs J Magnier and Westerberg, stayed on well over the 1m4f trip, winning by half a length and was always doing enough.

    “We had a smooth run. I landed in a nice spot and was always confident I had William [Buick] and Frankie [Dettori] covered,” explained Ryan of his ride. “In the end, it turned into a bit of a dash, but he responded gamely in the last furlong.”

    What is remarkable about this result is that Auguste Rodin disappointed on his last appearance, finishing a dwindling 12th when sent off favourite for the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket at the beginning of May.

    “Aidan is the only man that could get a horse back from a bad run in the Guineas,” said Ryan, for whom this was a 15th British Classic victory. “This horse has a great pedigree and has always shown promise – we’ve always had a lot of belief in him.”

    As is always the case, Aidan was quick to thank his team at home.

    “This result is a great credit to everyone and there are so many people to thank. Auguste Rodin is a home-bred horse and he is totally unique being by Deep Impact and out of one of the greatest mares [Rhododendron], who was by Galileo,” said Aidan of his Epsom Derby result. “Everything fell against him in the Guineas but he came out of the race great. Then every day at home he was getting better and more confident. Ryan gave him a peach of a ride today.”

    Aidan explained that Ryan said Auguste Rodin was special in February 2022.

    “When Ryan rode him in work for the first time as a two-year-old last February, he said that this horse was special and his movement is incredible.”

    66/1 shot King Of Steel gave a very impressive performance to finish second under Derby first-timer Kevin Stott, for trainer Roger Varian and owner Amo Racing Limited. This Epsom Derby result for King Of Steel, who is by Wootton Bassett, is worth noting given that he had only run twice prior to the Derby and had clocked £3,240, but he has now added £335,819.24 to that with this performance.

    “That was a huge run and fair play to the trainer,” said Kevin. “I think maybe I was in front a bit too long but we were beaten by a very good horse.”

    White Birch was third at 12/1 under Colin Keane, for trainer John James Murphy and owner Mrs C C Regalado-Gonzalez.

    Frankie Dettori, who won the Oaks yesterday, was sent off favourite in the Derby with Arrest, but they finished in eventual 10th.

    “The track was too much for him and he couldn’t run down the hill,” explained Frankie of Arrest’s performance. “His chances were over a long way out.”

    Epsom Derby 2023 result: winner’s breeding

    Auguste Rodin is out of the Galileo mare Rhododendron and by Deep Impact.

    Deep Impact was a champion Japanese racehorse, who won the Japanese Triple Crown in 2005 and the Japan Cup in 2006, as well as three other Japanese Grade One races. Auguste Rodin is one of just six foals from Deep Impact’s final crop prior to his death aged 17 in 2019.

    Rhododendron is one of the most successful mares by Galileo. She clocked over £1.36m in prize money during her career. As a two-year-old in 2016 she was rated the joint-best filly of her generation trained in Europe, inferior only to the American filly Lady Aurelia. After finishing second on her racecourse debut she won a maiden race at Goodwood and then recorded her first important success when taking the Group Two Debutante Stakes at the Curragh in August. In October, she won the Fillies’ Mile and as a three-year-old she finished second in both the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks before winning the Prix de l’Opéra. As a four-year-old in 2018 she added another major win in the Lockinge Stakes. Her owners decided to send her to Japan to be covered by Deep Impact following her retirement from the track.

    Read the full report from the Derby meeting in the 8 June issue of Horse & Hound magazine.

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