THE Futurity looks bright for exciting Auguste Rodin.
The star two-year-old gave Aidan O’Brien a record 11th win in the Vertem Futurity Trophy as he powered through the Doncaster mud.
O’Brien waited until the last minute before giving him the green light to run on heavy ground in the final Group 1 of the season.
But there was barely a moment’s worry – apart from a brief heart-in-mouth moment when the wayward Holloway Boy veered across the track in Auguste Rodin’s direction.
He had the gears to get out of that rival’s way and was well clear at the line under Ryan Moore, with Frankie Dettori and Epictetus back in second.
The bookies slashed Auguste Rodin’s odds for the first two Classics of next season.
Ladbrokes make him their 3-1 favourite for the Derby, while the magic sign also cut him into 5-1 (from 10) for the 2000 Guineas.
O’Brien said: “He’s a lovely horse, he is one we have liked from the very start.
“The lads always loved him and he’s one of the last by Deep Impact who was a brilliant stallion.
“We knew it wasn’t his ideal ground but we thought the experience wouldn’t hurt him.
“He’s one to really look forward to next season. He’s a great mover, he has everything you look for.”
At Cheltenham, Pied Piper had old rival Knight Salute dancing to his tune in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle.
The classy pair finished in a dead-heat at Aintree in the spring – before Knight Salute was awarded the race outright in the stewards’ room.
But Gordon Elliott’s four-year-old, who was bred by The Queen, set the record straight with a dominant victory under Jack Kennedy.
It represented a welcome return to the Cheltenham winners’ enclosure for Elliott.
The Irishman, by his standards, had a rotten Festival back in March and his six runners at jumps HQ on Friday were all well-beaten.
He will be hoping the floodgates will open from now on, with Pied Piper’s ultimate aim the Champion Hurdle back here in March.
Elliott said: “He’s a good horse who had a big reputation. He’s been beaten a couple of times, but only by short margins.
“We’re lucky to have him and he should come on plenty for the run.
“We know he likes it at this track so hopefully we can get him back here in March for the big one.”
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