where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2024-06-19 19:26:07  

A significant milestone deserves an exceptional horse, and Auguste Rodin was just that as he delivered a sensational victory for Aidan O’Brien, marking O’Brien’s 400th Group/Grade One win on the Flat during day two of Royal Ascot.

Achieving such a historic feat in one of the most prestigious races during the premier week in racing is fitting. Auguste Rodin's victory highlighted O’Brien’s remarkable training abilities, perhaps better than any other recent horse.

After a disappointing start in the Guineas, Auguste Rodin rebounded to win the Derby. A summer setback in the King George at Ascot was quickly remedied with wins in the Irish Champion Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup. Early-season setbacks at Meydan and the Curragh are now mere memories, overshadowed by his triumph in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on the grandest stage.

Owned by Michael Tabor, who has celebrated numerous big-race winners with O’Brien, Auguste Rodin is yet another testament to Tabor’s renowned orange and blue silks.

“He can be unpredictable, as we all know, but he’s a remarkable horse,” Tabor remarked. “He’s in the same league as High Chaparral. Among all my horses, Montjeu and Thunder Gulch come to mind, but having a horse like this is always thrilling, especially when he takes the lead.”

If Auguste Rodin is extraordinary, what can be said about O’Brien, the mastermind behind one of Flat racing’s most successful operations? Tabor, one of the key figures at Coolmore, has high praise for O’Brien’s unique qualities.

“What words can describe him? He’s just exceptional,” Tabor continued. “He’s patient, polite, and an outstanding trainer. More importantly, he’s a genuinely nice person. The results speak for themselves.”

For O’Brien, this milestone wasn’t just another day at work; it was a moment to savor. He shared his philosophy, “I don’t think about the future or dwell on the past. I focus on the present and take it one day at a time, appreciating every moment because winning is incredibly tough. It requires everything to align and everyone to work hard, and I’m just extremely grateful.”

Among his 400 top-level wins are record-breaking victories in both the Derby and the Oaks. In 2012, he made history with his son Joseph riding Camelot to victory, becoming the first father-son trainer-jockey duo to win the premier Classic at Epsom. His other son, Donnacha, also achieved Classic success under his guidance—memorable moments even for someone who consistently sets the standard in the sport.

“Those were unbelievable days,” O’Brien reflected. “Joseph and Donnacha rode exceptionally well at such a young age, handling the immense pressure. They made those moments possible, which is incredible.

“There have been countless special days. Every Derby, every winner here at Ascot is special. Horses like City Of Troy and Auguste Rodin make it hard to single out just one or two, but each moment is cherished.”


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