It would be interesting to know whether if given a second opportunity to ride St Nicholas Abbey in last Saturday’s King George Vl & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, would jockey, Joseph O’Brien, do things differently and would he have held him back so far?
The truth of the matter is that as well as Danedream finished to beat Nathaniel by a nose, it was St Nicholas Abbey who was travelling like an express train, he clearly was finishing the quickest but effectively ran out of race in his attempt to come from first to last.
Of course it always looks spectacular to see a top class racehorse come from the rear of the field, eating up the ground and his rivals en route but he must be given every chance to do so, something that St Nicholas Abbey was not given. O’Brien was accused of committing a similar mistake on the horse in last year’s race.
His failure takes nothing away from the winner, Danedream, who returned to winning ways after an indifferent spell since she won the ‘Arc de Triomphe’ by five lengths last October.
The German bred filly had been completely overlooked in the betting market prior to Saturday’s race at Ascot but now she has become the first filly to win the Arc/King George double marking her as one ofEurope’s great filly’s of recent years. It also proved her tenacity as she had to come from behind and pulled back the very worthy leader, Nathaniel, winning by a nose on the final stride. Nathaniel, who was looking for back-to-back wins in the race had taken the initiative a furlong from home and had looked every bit the winner until Danedream, with a 3lb pull in the weights, got to him on the line.
Danedream’s Trainer, Peter Schiergen, who only bought the filly for fun at a ridiculous cost of £7,000 could not explain how she returned to form so spectacularly after her poor show when last of four in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud last month. He did say however that it is this time of the year when she seems to come to herself and that a second tilt at the Arc is very much on her agenda later this season, for which she is the current 6/1 second favourite.
John Gosden, trainer of Nathaniel, may have regretted running his four year old. He ran in the Group 1 Coral Eclipse a fortnight ago and in winning that hard race over 10 furlongs, Nathaniel may have just need a little more time off. That said, it took a super effort from a great filly to beat him which leaves his reputation very much intact.
Sea Moon the Sir Michael Stoute representative went off as the 2/1 favourite but once again failed to make the breakthrough into a Group 1 winner’s enclosure. The recent Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes winner at Royal Ascot could only manage only 5th place. In fairness he was staying on at the end but was beaten by pace leaving his trainer to scratch his head as to where to take him next.
Reliable Man from the stables of Alain de Royer-Dupre in France produced an improved performance by finishing a close up 4th, but Australian raider and Melbourne Cup winner, Dunaden, despite being tipped by Pricewise failed to cope with the fast finishers and will now be aimed at the Irish Field St Leger over the much more suitable trip of 1m6f.