It took St Nicholas Abbey several strides to get into gear, but once he did he was unstoppable as he stormed down the center of the course to deny Midday in the $408,633 Investec Coronation Cup (Eng-I) at Epsom June 3.
Jockey Ryan Moore had his hands full as St Nicholas Abbey broke alertly and was immediately on the bridle. Moore struggled to get the son of Montjeu to settle as Dandino went to the front and led the field of five through a crawling early pace. Indian Days tracked them closely in third, as Tom Queally had a relaxed Midday galloping easily in fourth.
Dandino and jockey Paul Mulrennen continued to dictate the pace throughout early stages of the 12-furlong contest. With three furlongs to go, the complexion of the race changed, as Queally moved Midday into the clear on the outside. The duo shot past a tiring Dandino and cruised into the lead, as St Nicholas Abbey struggled to keep up.
Midday quickly opened up a two-length lead with less than two furlongs to run, and appeared to have the race sewn up. Once in front, however, the daughter of Oasis Dream lost focus and began to ease up slightly. St Nicholas Abbey, under an all-out drive by Moore, came charging down the center of the course, rallying in the final yards to deny Midday the victory.
The final margin of victory was one length, with Clowance another two lengths back in third. Final time for the 12 furlongs was 2:37.18 over the good turf course.
The win was the first in a group I race since 2009 for St Nicholas Abbey, who was victorious in the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I) as a juvenile. Since then, not much has gone right for the colt , who missed most of last year due to injury.
Aidan O’Brien, who trains the Coronation winner for the partnership of Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor, and Susan Magnier, said after the race, “That was brilliant. It’s been a long way back for him and a lot of people have been involved in getting him back. Ryan gave him a great ride today.”
Henry Cecil, who trains Midday for Prince Khalid Abdullah, remained upbeat after the race, stating, “St Nicholas Abbey did not come down the hill so Tom had to take advantage and go on. He did exactly the right thing. Midday will still improve for the run and she was beaten by a good horse, they’re both good horses.”