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St Nick well beaten on return

St Nicholas Abbey could only finish a well-beaten third behind the impressive Unaccompanied on his return from a long lay-off in the geegeez.co.uk Alleged Stakes at the Curragh.

Having his first run since losing his unbeaten record in last year's 2000 Guineas, the Aidan O'Brien-trained 4-11 favourite failed to pick up in the final quarter-mile.

Meanwhile, Pat Smullen set sail for home on Unaccompanied (4-1) and Dermot Weld's filly, second in the Triumph Hurdle last time, bounded away to take this Listed prize by two and a half lengths from 33-1 outsider Cilium.

O'Brien was far from despondent with St Nicholas Abbey's performance in the testing conditions.

"They didn't go very fast and he was just a little bit fresh. They quickened up at halfway and he got a little bit tired. The ground was very heavy," he said.

"It was his first time back and it was just to get him started again. It was a good while since he ran and he got a little bit tired in Seamus's (Heffernan) hands.

"It's very early in the season and it's very hard to have a horse peak fit on that kind of ground if you are thinking about going on for the rest of the season. We've got him started now and hopefully we'll look forward to his next run."

Weld was thrilled with Unaccompanied and said: "She's a lovely, big, genuine mare. She'll go to Punchestown next providing the ground is not firm. She ran a super race at Cheltenham and it's great to win a stakes race with her.

"She'll get the summer off after Punchestown and then come back as a dual-purpose mare. We'll be looking at races over 10 furlongs and a mile and a half on the Flat. She's got a very big future over jumps."

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