O’Brien’s Auguste Rodin faces elite opposition in Newmarket’s 2000 Guineas Stakes

Auguste Rodin will attempt to give trainer Aidan O’Brien a record-extending 11th victory in the G1 2000 Guineas Stakes (1600m), the first English Classic of the season, over Newmarket’s illustrious Rowley Mile on Saturday (6 May).

AUGUSTE RODIN winning the Futurity Trophy Stakes at Doncaster in England.
AUGUSTE RODIN winning the Futurity Trophy Stakes at Doncaster in England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

With a beautiful physique, a perfect easy-going nature and an impeccable pedigree (by Deep Impact out of triple G1-winning mare Rhododendron), not to mention the stunning impression created in last October's G1 Futurity Trophy (1600m) at Doncaster, Ryan Moore's mount might just be the superstar that this straight mile encounter uncovers every now and then.

Auguste Rodin  might need to belong on that sort of pedestal if he is to overwhelm the quality of opposition that he confronts in this Group 1, the sixth event on Newmarket's eight-race World Pool extravaganza.

Collectively, Auguste Rodin's rivals have already amassed 30 wins, with five of those horses already having established their class with official ratings of 115 or higher.

Besides Auguste Rodin, two of those colts also boast Group 1-winning glory. Stablemate Little Big Bear (Wayne Lordan) crushed his rivals with a rampant exhibition of speed in last August's Phoenix Stakes (1200m) at The Curragh while Andrew Balding-trained Chaldean narrowly eclipsed Guineas rival Royal Scotsman (Jim Crowley) in October's Dewhurst Stakes (1400m).

As the gates opened in last month's G3 Greenham Stakes (1400m) at Newbury, Frankie Dettori was unseated after Chaldean was bumped; Dettori is back on board in what will be his final ride in this Classic now that he is deep into his farewell tour. On Monday, the 52-year-old icon revved up for Saturday when he partnered Vero Atleta to win the G3 Premio Parioli (1600m) – the Italian version of the 2000 Guineas – at Rome's Capannelle racecourse.

Reflecting on Auguste Rodin O'Brien says: "He is an exceptional mover with a long low stride, and we nearly didn't run him at Doncaster because of the deep ground.  Everything went wrong that day, but he still won easily. He will stretch out to longer trips, but Saturday is the ideal start."

By contrast, stamina for the demanding Rowley Mile is an undeniable issue for Little Big Bear, a point endorsed by O'Brien who admits: "He can always go back to sprinting," before adding "but he's a very relaxed colt and I still think he could get the mile."

Besides the highest-rated contenders, there is enthusiasm for Indestructible – one of three Guineas contenders trained by Karl Burke. Despite racing too freely and without cover, Indestructible manifested stylish winning acceleration in last month's G3 Craven Stakes over the Guineas course and distance.

The son of Kodiac will again be partnered by Kevin Stott, who is rapidly earning a huge reputation for his skills. Burke says of Indestructible's prospects: "They are likely to go a much stronger gallop this time which will massively help. I am not saying that he is going to win but I'd be surprised if he doesn't run a huge race."

Fast ground is predicted for Friday's (5 May) Newmarket meeting but, with showers also predicted, the surface could ease by Saturday.

Hong Kong Jockey Club