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Picture : Auguste Rodin and Ryan Moore win the Irish Champion Stakes (Sky Sports)

Aidan O’Brien proved his doubters wrong as jockey Ryan Moore praises ‘satisfying victory’

  • The horse had previously won at both the Epsom and Irish Derbies in June 

The bare statistic will tell you that Auguste Rodin, trained by Aidan O’Brien, only had half-a-length to spare at the line over Luxembourg, his stablemate and the 2022 winner of this race, but that does not even begin to give you a sense of what a bumper Leopardstown crowed were privileged to see.

Auguste Rodin had won the Epsom and Irish Derbies in June before a scarcely believable run in the King George and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot in July, his performance so lamentable he was beaten the length of football pitch and more: the form book logged it at 127 lengths.

How could he possibly win the Irish Champion Stakes, one of the most significant flat races around the world, on the back of that? Plenty of judges were ready to write him off but, crucially, his genius trainer Aidan O’Brien was not among them.

He filled Michael Tabor and the rest of the Coolmore partners who own Auguste Rodin with such confidence that there was a belief in the paddock before the colt trotted out at 310pm that it wasn’t a case of “if” he would win but how he would do it.

Auguste Rodin came of age with a performance for the ages in the Irish Champion Stakes
Auguste Rodin had won the Epsom and Irish Derbies before his victory in the Irish Champion Stakes
Plenty were ready to write him off but his genius trainer Aidan O’Brien was not among them

‘It’s very satisfying for him to come back and prove how good he is,’ his jockey Ryan Moore purred. ‘He was excellent at Epsom and maybe wasn’t quite as good in the Irish Derby. I think he might have just been feeling it the last day (he ran at Ascot) but Aidan has got him back.

‘Cantering to the start he felt in a real good place and floated around there. He’s a very well balanced horse, a beautiful mover and it never really felt in any real doubt. I’m delighted with him. It’s a fantastic to get him back, he’s beaten some proven Group One horses there so it’s satisfying.’

It was noticeable throughout how comfortably and Moore was travelling on the handsome brown colt, his arms being tugged at as Auguste Rodin wanted to scoot by his eight rivals. When he pressed the button 400 yards out, the response was instant and compelling.

His rivals could have gone around this famous track once more – British raiders Nashwa, King Of Steel and Alflaila finished third, fourth and fifth – and they still wouldn’t have got past Auguste Rodin, who is named after a French sculptor but is now destined to finish his career at the Breeders Cup in Los Angeles rather than the Prix de L’arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Tabor’s orange-and-blue silks – in which Auguste Rodin runs – are synonymous with success the world over. There is little he hasn’t seen or done but he is 81 now and it was clear, on a beautiful day, how much of a kick he got out of this. His praise for Moore’s part in the victory was fulsome.

‘Top jockeys like Ryan make their minds up in an instant and there is no question what he did in the King George helped us here,’ Tabor told Mail Sport. ‘You can say it is common sense but common sense isn’t always that common!

Jockey Ryan Moore (right) revealed how satisfying the victory was


‘Horses are like people – they can off days – but Auguste has come back and shown us exactly what he can do. I’m not getting any younger and I want to see this horse on the track, enjoying him like everyone else. The world is his oyster.’

It most certainly is. O’Brien knew he would be Ballydoyle’s main horse for Epsom in June 2023 when he galloped him for the first time in February 2022, his outstanding genes prompting a man who is now closing in on 4000 career wins to label him “the most important horse we have ever had.”

‘We’re delighted with him, he’s a beautiful mover and easy-cruising horse,’ said O’Brien, who had another important success on the cards with £2.4million youngster Diego Velazquez winning the race Auguste Rodin won 12 months ago.

‘I couldn’t be happier with him His action is so slick and so much went wrong for him at Ascot; he’s obviously not a soft-ground horse. You would say you wouldn’t go to the Arc on soft ground, but if it came up nice ground you’d be delighted.

‘The lads love the Breeders’ Cup though and you know you’re going to get fast ground at Santa Anita, so that’s a strong possibility.’

So good was Auguste Rodin, he had to take the headline but it was impossible not to leave the course without thinking about Tahiyra’s turbo-charged run down the outside to win the Group One Matron Stakes for jockey Chris Hayes and trainer Dermot Weld, justifying odds-on favouritism.

‘I just love her,’ said Hayes, of a filly who had won the Irish 1000 Guineas then the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. ‘She’s something else.’

His joy was infectious. It was one of those fabulous days.