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Comeback king Auguste Rodin on another recovery mission

Comeback king Auguste Rodin on another recovery mission
Comeback king Auguste Rodin on another recovery mission

Aidan O’Brien has taken responsibility for Auguste Rodin’s disappointing run in Dubai and expects a more positive showing in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on Sunday.

Last year’s dual Derby winner, who was also successful in the Irish Champion Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Turf, has developed a habit of throwing in the odd baffling run.

He was well beaten in the 2000 Guineas before bouncing back at Epsom and just when it looked like he would dominate his peers, he ran no sort of race in the King George at Ascot.

Yet again O’Brien worked his magic to get him back to win at Leopardstown and in America but in the Sheema Classic in March, he finished last of 12.

“Obviously, Dubai was his first run of the year and it just went wrong, I probably got a little bit wrong tactically. I told Ryan (Moore) to take his time and anyone who took their time really didn’t get into the race,” said O’Brien.

“Ryan took his time, there was no pace, William (Buick, on Rebel’s Romance) got sat in second and he controlled the race – and before you knew it, those in the second pack were cut off and the rest is history.

“We’re happy with him, we’ve made changes and adjusted a few things and we think that run in Dubai will be gone.”

O’Brien also runs outsider Hans Andersen.

White Birch has enjoyed a good start to the season, winning twice
White Birch has enjoyed a good start to the season, winning twice (Niall Carson/PA)

Back in third in the Derby at Epsom was White Birch, trained by John Murphy, who has enjoyed a terrific start to 2024, winning the Alleged and Mooresbridge Stakes.

Those victories provide a perfect platform into this highlight, being Group Three and Two races respectively, and Murphy’s son and assistant George is confident he deserves another crack at the top level.

“We’re very much looking forward to it, he’s in great shape,” he said. “He’s come out of his first couple of runs very well and we can’t wait.

“He’s won on very soft ground his first two races this season, there’s rain around Saturday night into Sunday but it should just make it nice ground, I think – and that should really suit him.

“He does have form on all types of ground, so he’s pretty versatile, hopefully it’s just nice ground on the day.

“We’ve ground to make up on Auguste Rodin and obviously he’s a top-class horse. Whether we can make up that ground, I don’t know, but we’re keen to take our chance and find out and it would be brilliant if he were good enough.

“Hopefully he’ll be competing at the top level for the rest of the season and if he can win one, that would be great.”

Adrian Murray with David Egan and Elegant Man at Newcastle
Adrian Murray with David Egan and Elegant Man at Newcastle (Richard Sellers/PA)

Adrian Murray’s Elegant Man is a fascinating contender.

In four outings, he has won three, with his sole defeat coming at the hands of multiple Group One winner Rebel’s Romance.

Elegant Man was last seen defying a wide draw and making all the running on All-Weather Finals Day at Newcastle.

“We need to find out if he can translate his good all-weather form to the turf and all the signs are he will,” said Murray.

“He did a very good piece of work at Naas on Monday and we think he should be fine.

“He’s a very good horse and if he does take to it, he deserves his chance – we could have just done without taking on Auguste Rodin! But it’s a Group One, you’re not going to get a gimme.”

Murray is also running Crypto Force, winner of the Beresford Stakes as a juvenile for Michael O’Callaghan and not beaten far in the Prix Ganay last time out.

“The plan with him was always the Alleged Stakes and then France, but the Alleged got cancelled and then rescheduled, which meant the two races were very close (eight days) together,” Murray went on.

“He’s a good horse, you don’t win a Beresford without being a good horse, and he deserves his chance, too.”

Joseph O’Brien’s Lumiere Rock was a course and distance winner in the Group Two Blandford Stakes last September, while Mashhoor and Lord Massusus complete the line-up.

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