St Nicholas Abbey vies for Coronation history

Aidan O’Brien trained horse looking for a third successive victory in race at Epsom

St Nicholas Abbey will bid to make history at Epsom on Saturday when he attempts a third straight success in the Investec Coronation Cup.

His wins in 2011 and 2012 saw the Aidan O’Brien-trained horse join five other horses — Warrsan, Triptych, Petite Etoile, The White Knight and Pretty Polly — as a dual winner.

The most recent of those victories came with a four-and-a-half-length beating of Ed Dunlop’s Red Cadeaux under Joseph O’Brien, who has also won the Dubai Sheema Classic and Breeders’ Cup Turf on the money-spinning son of Montjeu.

That March win in Dubai was St Nicholas Abbey’s most recent outing, and O’Brien junior is in no doubt of his mount’s qualities.


O’Brien junior rider said: “He’s a favourite of mine, he’s tough, he tries hard and has loads of ability. Hopefully he can run another big race. He’s going for his third win and it would be great if he could do it.”

O’Brien senior said: “St Nicholas Abbey is in good shape and everything has gone well so far. He had a little day away, and everything is good so far.”

Leading the opposition in a five-runner field is former Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Hong Kong Vase hero Dunaden, trained in France by Mikel Delzangles.

The seven-year-old was last seen finishing third to Pastorius in the Prix Ganay, having previously been fourth to St Nicholas Abbey in the Sheema Classic.

Delzangles said: “He is in great form and he should run another good race, I hope. We were happy with his last run at Longchamp. He was a little bit unlucky, but that’s racing.

“I think there should be a true pace in this race, which will suit him, so we will see what he can do against a horse like St Nicholas Abbey. I hope our horse handles the track. He went for a gallop there last week and seemed OK, so hopefully he’ll be all right.”

Dunaden runs in the Pearl Bloodstock colours of Sheikh Fahad, who said: "He's much fitter and better than he was last time. I think there's a good race in him this year.

“St Nicholas Abbey is the horse to beat, but we have got confidence in the horse and if he runs like he did in the Caulfield Cup, he is capable of a good run.

"He won the Melbourne Cup with his class but he's not a two-miler. He's a mile-and-a-half horse. Prior to Melbourne he was supposed to go to Royal Ascot for the the Gold Cup, but I had to be strong to go to Melbourne and save his handicap mark. He's our flagship horse and has taken us everywhere we want to be."

Dunlop this year saddles Joshua Tree, who will be having his second run for the Newmarket handler since joining from Marco Botti.

The field is completed by Chamonix and Chapter Seven, likely pacemakers for St Nicholas Abbey and Dunaden respectively.