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Auguste Rodin
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Horse Racing: Can Auguste Rodin be a Triple Crown hero?

Winning the Triple Crown on the Flat in the UK is a devilishly tough challenge, as evidenced by the fact that no horse since Nijinsky in 1970 has managed it.

Recent weeks have brought talk of a challenger for the test of winning the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, The Derby at Epsom in June and the St Leger at Doncaster in September – all of which can be followed via the bet365 Sports Live Streaming service.

The reason for this optimism is that master-trainer Aidan O'Brien has suggested his talented colt Auguste Rodin could be a Triple Crown horse. 

With that comment in mind, we've priced him up at 20/1 to emulate the great Nijinsky and bridge that 53-year wait for a Triple Crown hero. 

Here we take a look at the task in front of Auguste Rodin in the coming months if he's going to get close to that seismic achievement last achieved by Nijinsky.

Auguste Rodin could be 'the one'

Aidan O'Brien knows a thing or two about training Classic winners. In Britain he's amassed a running tally of 31, including the Epsom Derby eight times. 

The same again and more in Ireland, plus his exploits in France, and it's clear that the Ballydoyle supremo is a generational talent. 

He's obsessed with winning, does it in a formulaic manner and, yet, routinely talks down his own stratospheric achievements. 

There aren't many things left for O'Brien to conquer but one of those omissions from his CV is a Triple Crown winner. 

The last man to achieve it was his fellow Irishman and predecessor at Ballydoyle, the late Vincent O'Brien (no relation) and, while he'd never admit as much, there may be a longing somewhere deep down inside him to match that feat. 

Big things are expected from his Deep Impact colt this season and O'Brien recently told a press day at his yard that Auguste Rodin could be Triple Crown material. 

Nijinsky the star of the last century

Nijinsky is without doubt the star of the previous century and the fact he won his Triple Crown with the late, great Lester Piggott on board only adds to his allure. 

Rock Sand (1903) and Bahram (1935) were the only other accepted Triple Crown winners since Diamond Jubilee did it in 1900, with the likes of Pommern, Gay Crusader and Gainsborough achieving their wartime wins when all three Classic races were all held at Newmarket amid heavily disrupted racing programmes of their day. 

Nijinsky was from the second crop of foals sired by Northern Dancer, the winner of the 1964 Kentucky Derby who went on to become one of the most influential sires of the 20th century. 

Unbeaten at two, he won the likes of the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh before travelling to Newmarket to win the Dewhurst Stakes. 

After a comeback success at the Curragh in the spring of 1970, Nijinsky easily justified odds-on favouritism in the Guineas at Newmarket under Piggott. 

At Epsom, an SP of 11/8 would be the only time in his career Nijinsky was odds-against and he overhauled French challenger Gyr late in the race to win The Derby. 

The Irish Derby followed and so, too, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot for good measure before the St Leger at Doncaster. 

On Town Moor, he secured his Triple Crown in trouble-free style. Afterwards, was beaten in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp and the Champion Stakes at Newmarket before being retired to stud. 

Piggott felt he'd gone beyond his peak for the season in slender Arc defeat, though his trainer disagreed, suggesting he'd been left with too much to do in the race.

Near misses in the intervening years 

Since 1970 only Reference Point (1987), Nashwan (1989), Sea The Stars (2009) and Camelot (2012) have won two of the three Triple Crown races. 

Oh So Sharp, trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil, did complete the Fillies' Triple Crown in 1985, winning the 1000 Guineas and the Epsom Oaks before her St Leger success. 

The only horse since Nijinsky to even have a crack at completing the Triple Crown was Camelot, trained by Aidan O'Brien, 11 years ago. 

Ridden by his son, Joseph, Camelot was second in the St Leger behind Encke as Coolmore's great rivals Godolphin spoiled the party at Doncaster. 

Camelot also went on to Paris but was only seventh in the Arc, with Frankie Dettori riding as Joseph O'Brien couldn't make the low weight.

All set for Newmarket 

The 2000 Guineas is the first stop and Auguste Rodin is a 3/1 chance for Newmarket glory on Saturday 6th May, with his stablemate Little Big Bear behind in the betting at 4/1

With stamina for intermediate distances unlikely to be an issue, he's the clear 5/2 favourite for The Derby at Epsom on 3rd June. 

Though defeated on debut last season at the Curragh in a 7f maiden, Auguste Rodin has been faultless since, winning all three subsequent starts. 

They included the Group 2 Champions Juvenile Stakes at the Curragh in September and, crucially, an ultra-impressive Vertem Trophy win at Doncaster the following month. 

He's shown himself adept on any ground and perhaps the only question over him going into his Classic year will be the ability to handle the famous Newmarket dip and the undulations of Epsom. 

Like so many before him, he will be beautifully prepared for those challenges by his trainer. 

Heading to Newmarket next month his potential challengers include Andrew Balding's Dewhurst scorer Chaldean at 8/1, as well as Little Big Bear and Noble Style at 10/1 for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin, the latter an impressive winner of all three starts last season including the Gimcrack at York. 

He's untested beyond six-furlongs but will command plenty of respect if heading to Newmarket for the Guineas.

Paris in the autumn? 

It's a long way in the distance for now but, given O'Brien's willingness to send a top three-year-old to Paris, it's worth pondering Auguste Rodin as a 14/1 contender for the Arc come 1st October at Longchamp. 

Much will of course depend on what happens in the interim and the progression of that possible Triple Crown dream. 

O'Brien is one of few trainers with the armoury to aim for this assignment and he's unperturbed it seems with the notion of a top-class colt winning the stamina test that is the St Leger. 

Europe's most prestigious middle distance race, the Arc, is an altogether different challenge and a prize very much desired for any colt with future designs on stallion duties.

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