‘Auguste Rodin Is The One’ – Aidan O’Brien Dreaming Of Triple Crown Glory

Aidan O’Brien has nominated Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), the ante-post favourite for the 2000 Guineas and the Derby, as being the horse who is most capable of emulating Nijinski by winning the Triple Crown this season. 

If successful, Auguste Rodin would bridge a 53-year gap, and complete a long-held ambition for the master of Ballydoyle, who came agonisingly close to achieving the feat with Camelot (GB) in 2013.

Auguste Rodin is understood to have come out of an exercise gallop at the Curragh racecourse on Saturday in good shape by O’Brien, who also revealed that he has every faith in last year’s crack juvenile Little Big Bear (Ire) (No Nay Never) getting the Guineas trip. 

Both colts were reported to be on course for Newmarket by O’Brien at a Ballydoyle press morning on Monday.

He explained, “Auguste Rodin and Little Big Bear will be aimed at Newmarket and then the lads will have to decide whether they will let the two of them run together or split them up. They were obviously two very classy colts last year, and what Little Big Bear did in the Phoenix was just different, but we were also very impressed with Auguste Rodin in the Vertem Futurity as everything went wrong in the race.”

O’Brien added, “Little Big Bear would be very comfortable and happy to go back sprinting any time, but there’s a very good chance he will get a mile. He races very relaxed.

“Auguste Rodin, you would imagine, will have no bother stretching out to a-mile-and-a-quarter or a-mile-and-a-half. He’s that type of horse. We were nearly not running him at Doncaster because of the ground, as he’s an exceptional mover–a very slick, very long and low mover. 

“He is that type of horse that could start in the Guineas and stretch out. He was always very classy, from the first time Ryan [Moore] rode him. I remember Ryan riding him in February, as a two-year-old, and he was raving about him then. If we have a horse who could do that [win the Triple Crown], he would definitely be the one.”

One horse who won’t be seen at Newmarket in May is Statuette (Justify), who has suffered a setback. Unbeaten in both of her starts at two, including the G2 Airlie Stud S., Statuette will be joined on the easy list by Kyprios (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), the reigning Gold Cup hero, who will miss the defence of his Royal Ascot crown due to injury. 

O’Brien said, “Statuette is on a little bit of a hold-up. I don’t think she’s going to make the Guineas. We’ll go gently with her and see what happens.

“I don’t think Kyprios will make the Ascot Gold Cup. He got a little bit of an infection in a joint and it’s not settling down. We’ll just have to wait and see. It happened a month ago and it’s just not settling. Sometimes those things can settle very quickly and sometimes they don’t. He got an infection inside the joint-an unusual thing-and the joint had to be flushed. And then there was more infection, so they had to flush it a second time.”

Asked what horses could potentially fill the Gold Cup void for Ballydoyle, O’Brien responded, “We were very impressed with Emily Dickinson (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) at the Curragh, on her last run. She grew another leg when she went to two miles. I’m not sure whether Broome (Ire) (Australia {GB}) will stretch out that far, but I’d imagine Goodwood, Irish Leger and Melbourne Cup, those types of races for him.”

Breeders’ Cup scorer Victoria Road (Ire) (Saxon Warrior {Jpn}) will be trained for the French 2,000 Guineas while an audacious plan has been hatched with the speedy Tenebrism (Caravaggio) to win the G1 King’s Stand S. and G1 Platinum Jubilee at Royal Ascot. 

O’Brien said, “I think they [Ballydoyle three-year-olds for this season] are strong. There are plenty of chances there, and we have two very strong Guineas chances, and then we have the horse for France [Victoria Road].”

He added. “Tenebrism is going to go sprinting and will probably start in one of the local sprints. She’s nearly ready to go. She’s a fast filly, and I’d say five or six furlongs would be comfortable for her.

“Last year we were dallying around with her, seeing where we were going to go, but the minute we started sprinting with her, it was very obvious she was a sprinter. She’s very quick. She’ll be trained differently. Last year, we were trying to stretch her out, to see how far she would go, and she was still very competitive at those distances because she’s just a good filly.”

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