Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

St Nic takes Stars route

Aidan O'Brien's highly-regarded youngster St Nicholas Abbey has been made favourite for Saturday's Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

The unbeaten Montjeu colt has been the name on many people's lips for next year's Derby after winning the Beresford Stakes — a race that featured on Sea The Stars' CV as a two-year-old.

Johnny Murtagh's likely mount has been chalked up as 9-4 market leader with Paddy Power.

The final Group One of the season usually has a major bearing on the following year's Classics and among a field of 22 are the top four in the betting for the 2010 Derby.

Aside from St Nicholas Abbey, there is Godolphin's Al Zir, John Dunlop's Acomb Stakes winner Elusive Pimpernel, installed as second favourite, and Peter Chapple-Hyam's Coordinated Cut who will be of interest to many after making a well-backed debut at the same course, and Kieren Fallon expects the exciting youngster to take all the beating.

Fallon was aboard the juvenile when he made a winning debut over course and distance just over a month ago and the Clare native is expected to get the leg-up again this weekend.

Speaking at Pontefract yesterday, Fallon said: “He won very well at the Leger meeting. I rode him work the other day and he went well. He must have a good chance.”

Eddie Ahern rides Elusive Pimpernel and he said: “The vibes are good and I hear he is in good form. Aidan (O'Brien) has a few in there and St Nicholas Abbey is favourite for the Derby, so it is a hot contest.

“My horse is a lovely, big horse and he's done nothing but improve. I think they will get cut in the ground, which I think is what he needs.”

O'Brien has won the mile contest four times, most recently with the two subsequent Classic winners High Chaparral (2001) and St Leger hero Brian Boru (2002).

The Ballydoyle supremo can also pick from Air Chief Marshal, Jan Vermeer, Joshua Tree, Midas Touch and Utrillo.

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