St Nicholas Abbey cemented himself as the early favorite for the 2010 Investec Derby (Eng-I) with a dominating performance in the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I) at Doncaster Oct. 24.
The Aidan O’Brien trained-colt remains undefeated in three starts in his young career, having also captured the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes (Ire-II) and a maiden race at the Curragh in his two prior races.
The Racing Post Trophy brought together a field of 11, with three of the most highly-rated 2-year-old colts in England and Ireland meeting for the first time. Besides St Nicholas Abbey, the field included Al Zir, an imposing son of Medaglia d'Oro who was making his stakes debut for Godolphin, and Elusive Pimpernel, an undefeated son of Elusive Quality who captured the Acomb Stakes (Eng-III) in his last start.
Ridden with confidence by Johnny Murtagh, St Nicholas Abbey tracked Elusive Pimpernel toward the rear of the field as Shakespearean and Al Ghazal led in the early stages of the one mile contest. Al Zir sat just off the pace in third, and looked ready to pounce at any time for jockey Frankie Dettori.
As the field hit the two-furlong marker, Murtagh shook the reins and the response was immediate when St Nicholas Abbey split horses and hit the front within a few strides. The colt continued to accelerate in the final furlong, opening up several lengths on the rest of the field.
St Nicholas Abbey hit the wire 3 3/4 lengths in front of Elusive Pimpernel, who rallied to take the second spot from Al Zir by 2 1/2-lengths. The final time for the mile was 1:39.62 over a course rated "good to soft."
O’Brien was full of praise for the colt, telling reporters, “This is a very special horse. He’s one of those unique horses that is bred to stay, but who has speed.
“When you look at that turn of toe he had today, it was effortless.”
St Nicholas Abbey was bred in Ireland by Barton Bloodstock and Villiers Syndicate, and is raced by Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier, and Michael Tabor. By Montjeu, he is out of the Sure Blade mare Leaping Water, who has also produced Grammarian (by Definite Article), winner of the Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT) and San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) in 2002.
Leaping Water is a half-sister to champion Ballingarry (by Sadler’s Wells), in addition to group I winners Aristotle (by Sadler’s Wells) and Starborough (by Soviet Star).