Aidan O’Brien hopeful Auguste Rodin could be ‘the one’

Auguste Rodin, with Ryan Moore up, on their way to winning the KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes on day one of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown last September. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Aidan O’Brien will be the man to beat when the English 2,000 Guineas rolls around in early May and the Ballydoyle maestro was particularly bullish about the prospects of Auguste Rodin for the season ahead.

Auguste Rodin is vying for favouritism with stablemate Little Big Bear for the Newmarket Classic — both trade at around 4/1 — while the former is also the clear market leader for the Epsom Derby (5/2).

Big things are expected from the Deep Impact colt with O’Brien believing that he is the best equipped of his string to land a famous Triple Crown (English Guineas, Derby, St Leger).

“He’s that type of horse (that could get any trip in time). If we have a horse that could do that, he’s definitely the one,” O’Brien said before revealing that the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes winner had excelled in a recent Curragh gallop.

“I’m very happy with him. What he did at the Curragh was very good following a three-year-old sprinter so you’d have to be very happy with that. He was very comfortable (working with The Antarctic).

“We were surprised at him but he was always very classy from the first time Ryan (Moore) rode him. We nearly didn’t run him at Doncaster on the ground. He’s an exceptional mover, a very slick, long and low mover.

“He’s the type of horse that could start in the Guineas and stretch out to a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half.”

Of Little Big Bear, O’Brien reckons that the dominant Phoenix Stakes winner (over six furlongs) should get the mile trip of the Guineas.

“I suppose Little Big Bear would be very comfortable and happy to go back sprinting, but I think there’s a good chance he will get a mile. He races very relaxed. We’re very happy with him,” he said.

It wasn’t all good news, though, with the 53-year-old ruling Kyprios out of his Ascot Gold Cup defence due to a joint problem and the star stayer is likely to return in late summer/early autumn.

“I don’t think Kyprios is going to make the Gold Cup. He got a little bit of a joint and it’s not settling down. We will just have to wait and see. It’s one of these things,” O’Brien said.

“Maybe he will be (our flag bearer again) but he has to come right. It happened a month ago and it’s just not settled – sometimes these things can settle very quickly and sometimes they don’t.”

O’Brien’s Plan B for the Royal Ascot marathon in June could include the likes of four-year-old filly Emily Dickinson and recent Dubai Gold Cup winner Broome while he has been forced to rule leading fancy Statuette out of the English 1,000 Guineas due to a “hold-up”.

Meditate (3/1) will now lead the Ballydoyle team in the 1,000 Guineas and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf will make her seasonal reappearance in the Newmarket Classic on May 7, for which she is second favourite behind the Dermot Weld-trained Tahiyra (5/2).