Auguste Rodin illustrated the genius of trainer Aidan O’Brien once more as he rose from the ashes for a second time this season by galloping to victory in the Group 1 Royal Bahrain Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown today.
The royally-bred dual Derby star, who like another of today’s elite winners Tahiyra was an Irish Champions Festival winner 12 months ago as a juvenile, was giving O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore the second leg of a treble on the card so far with six races elapsed.
Earlier on, Diego Velazquez landed the Group 2 KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes, claimed last year by Auguste Rodin, while Adelaide River was given an absolute peach by Moore in the Group 3 Paddy Power Stakes.
O’Brien is now three winners off joining Dermot Weld and Willie Mullins as Irish trainers to reach a remarkable landmark of 4,000 as a trainer.
Auguste Rodin was bouncing back after a no-show in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, just as he had done in the Epsom Derby when failing to spark in the English 1,000 Guineas.
In the process, he was giving O’Brien and the Coolmore partners a 13th triumph in the elite contest, and a fifth in succession.
“He’s a great horse, bottom line,” said O’Brien. “We knew Ascot just all went wrong.
"A brilliant horse"
“He was always a brilliant horse, always. All the way along from first day he worked. He travels like a dream. He’s an awful lot of natural speed. He’s a little bit lazy when he gets there.
“A couple of times this year it all went totally wrong. All the ducks went against him. Usually you want them all to go with you but they all went against him. Ryan, before it went completely wrong in Ascot, he took him out of the race so he did no mental or physical damage to him. That’s why he came out of the race so well.”
Flying is one common denominator identified by the Ballydoyle brains trust as contributory factors to the disappointing displays, while O’Brien’s wife Annemarie, herself a former champion trainer, noted a personality trait that suggests Auguste Rodin possesses an acute awareness of his surroundings.
“He’s very tough, very hardy, but a little bit peculiar. Annemarie was watching him in the stable. If things happen around his environment he stays awake all night. He doesn’t sleep. He’s probably just a very sensitive horse. He takes in everything.”
Michael Tabor, speaking on behalf of the Coolmore partners that own the son of Deep Impact and triple Group 1 winner Rhododendron, hailed O’Brien’s contribution.
“You see a horse run so poorly like that and you speak to Aidan afterwards and he’s still full of confidence and he seems to know the reasons why the horse ran badly,” marvelled Tabor. “And he just brings them back to their best.”
Meanwhile, Flight Plan gave sponsor Steve Parkin of Clipper Logistics another Irish Champions Festival success in the Group 2 Dullingham Park Stakes.
Parkin’s racing manager, Joe Foley is credited with coming up with the idea that became Irish Champions Festival and the team has always been a major supporter.
It was a seventh British-trained victory in ten renewals of the race while trainer Karl Burke has tasted Irish Champions Festival glory before also.
Danny Tudhope kicked for home turning into the straight and Flight Plan was always holding the chasers.