Click above to watch St Nicholas Abbey winning the Coronation Cup (Gr1)…
(Photo : Gulf News - Footage : Racing UK)
DIAMOND JUBILEE CORONATION CUP (Gr1)
Epsom Downs, Turf, 2400m
2 June 2012
Hard at work to shake off Midday (GB) (Oasis Dream) at the finish of the Investec Coronation Cup 12 months ago, St Nicholas Abbey (Ire) (Montjeu) made the whole process seem a lot easier when recording back-to-back successes in this race re-named in honor of the Diamond Jubilee.
There had been much talk about his reversal at 2-5 in the G3 Mooresbridge Stakes at The Curragh May 7, but the one-time hot Investec Derby favorite was only half-asleep in that contest used as a prep for this repeat bid. Wide awake back on the big stage, the livewire was reserved with only one behind by a confident Joseph O’Brien as the stable rabbit Robin Hood (Ire) (Galileo) set off in clear isolation to provide the favorite with a marker. Freewheeling into contention on the outer running downhill, the reigning Breeders Cup Turf hero swept past Masked Marvel (GB) (Montjeu) and to the front with 2 1/2 furlongs remaining and although his jockey dropped his whip a furlong out, St Nicholas Abbey needed no encouragement to slam overmatched rivals.
“When he goes to sleep early in his races, he’s a very special horse,” Joseph O’Brien commented. “He has always shown a lot of ability and he’s really coming back to his old form. I got to the front too soon, but he picked the bit up going past the four and I didn’t want to disappoint him. When he relaxes and quickens up like that, it takes a very good one to go by.”
This win means that St Nicholas Abbey continues his excellent record going left-handed, with only been defeat that way at the hands of the crack French performer Cirrus des Aigles (Fr) (Even Top) in the March 31 G1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan.
Nevertheless, Aidan O’Brien is looking at the major prizes on right-handed tracks for his immediate campaign. “He has the option of the G1 Prince of Wales’ Stakes at Royal Ascot June 20, the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot July 21 and G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp October 7,” the Ballydoyle conditioner explained, while Derrick Smith added after welcoming back his 99th top-level scorer. “He has vindicated everything we thought of him and it was a procession - he was very impressive.”
Connections of the second and third are looking at stepping back up in trip, with the G1 Irish St Leger at The Curragh September 15 mentioned as a long-term target for both.
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News