Abbey looking for a third Coronation

Aidan O’Brien trained horse heads a list of 12 entries for Epsom race

 Aidan O’Brien chats to John Magnier at Leopardstown. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Aidan O’Brien chats to John Magnier at Leopardstown. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho


St Nicholas Abbey is on course to attempt to become the first horse to win the Investec Coronation Cup three times.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained six-year-old heads the 12 entries for the mile-and-a-half Group One at Epsom on June 1st following the latest scratchings deadline.

St Nicholas Abbey, who beat Midday in 2011 and swept to victory from Red Cadeaux last year, took his Group One tally to five when lifting the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March.

O’Brien has a strong back-up squad in Chamonix, El Salvador, Ernest Hemingway and Imperial Monarch. Connections of Dandino will look at this race for the Group Two winner, whose main target in 2013 is the Melbourne Cup.

The six-year-old, fourth in this race in 2011, shaped with promise on his first run for trainer Marco Botti when runner-up in the Qipco Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket.

“We are considering the Coronation Cup for Dandino. The owners have told me to leave him in the race and we will just monitor the ground because he is a fast-ground horse,” said Botti.

“The long-term plan is the Melbourne Cup and, although it would be good to win the Coronation Cup, we have to be mindful of his handicap mark for Australia.

“If the race cut up and the ground is fine we might just have a look because the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, which is also an option, can be just a tough as a Group One now it has no penalties.”

International interest is provided by 2011 Melbourne Cup victor Dunaden, trained in France by Mikel Delzangles, and Very Nice Name, who has been left in by Qatari-based Alban de Mieulle and was last seen when third behind St Nicholas Abbey at Meydan.

The list of possibles is completed by 2012 Derby second Main Sequence, Chapter Seven, Joshua Tree and Sir Graham Wade.