uguste Rodin can provide Aidan O’Brien with a crucial victory — not only in Saturday’s Derby (1.30) but for the well-being of his string at the top level for years to come.
It’s an unusually early start in Surrey and punters are barely in the gates before they have to think about the great race, with O’Brien reliant on the likely favourite, Auguste Rodin, and two long shots (Adelaide River and San Antonio). The son of Deep Impact has to be forgiven a nondescript run in the Guineas last month, but things have since improved for Ballydoyle.
O’Brien sent two runners over to Newmarket, both finishing down the field, but he has been notably happy to put a line through that run for Auguste Rodin. Moreover, both the second and third at Newmarket were no match for the O’Brien-trained Paddington in the Irish Guineas this week — so there may be depth to his three-year-old brigade after all.
Galileo, remarkably, is the sire of just one runner today, as Frankel takes over from his father as the premier sire around. With his influence waning, O’Brien needs a new sire to rival the late Galileo, and Auguste Rodin will ensure a career at stud, at the very least, if he can take the great race.
Coolmore’s much-hyped colt won three of his four starts as a two-year-old, quite impressive in winning at Group One level at Doncaster in October. That was over a mile on heavy ground, so he really should come into his own over this trip or similar, especially with the pedigree he has.
It could, of course, be all about Frankel and Frankie Dettori yet again, the pair combining with Chaldean at Newmarket when Auguste Rodin was nowhere to be seen. Arrest, also owned by Juddmonte, has done nothing but progress, and his Chester trial performance was up there with the best. Frankel also is responsible for Military Order, who proved he stays at Lingfield and will be popular each-way.
The home team is really strong and Passenger, representing last year’s winning stable, is sure to be popular after his luckless third in the Dante. He ought to reverse that form with fellow son of Ulysses, White Birch, a very rare Classic runner for County Cork trainer John Murphy. However, this looks a much, much hotter event.
Perhaps the most popular winner would be Sprewell. The Irish raider’s trainer, Jessica Harrington, says horses have been her “therapy” during her treatment for cancer.
The Diomed Stakes (12.50) that kicks things off can go to Regal Reality, who looks the value at this morning’s prices. The stablemate of Passenger struggled behind Highland Avenue at Newmarket, but this is much different ground and it does not make much sense that he is so much bigger in the betting than the Charlie Appleby horse.
The Princess Elizabeth Stakes (2.10) can go to Prosperous Voyage, who won a maiden in 2021 on her only prior visit to Epsom. Her Newmarket run last month raises some doubts, but she tends to give her running and Dettori’s retained loyalty seems a tip in itself on the great man’s final Derby day in the saddle.
The Aston Martin 3YO “Dash” Handicap (2.45) is a minefield, but bookmakers will likely pay five each-way places and Jm Jungle is so consistent that he can be relied upon to give it a good go.
Both Lester Piggott (3.55) and Northern Dancer (4.30), both of whose imprint on the great sport can never be underestimated, are honoured in the racecard. Torito looks a likely type in a cracking handicap for the three-year-olds over 10 furlongs.
He looks capable of better, while Caius Chorister can take the penultimate contest. She is not only a course and distance winner: she warmed up for this with a cracking reappearance effort at Epsom and Ryan Moore, who rides Auguste Rodin, takes over.
They conclude with the JRA Tokyo Trophy Handicap (5.05). Mr Wagyu could be tasty here at about 5-1, having scrambled home in this race last year off 94 for John Quinn. He is only 2lb higher here.