Nathaniel took command three furlongs from the wire and easily held off the late bid of Farhh to win the Coral-Eclipse (Eng-I) at Sandown Park July 7.
The 4-year-old son of Galileo, who was making his first start of the year, showed no signs of rust in notching his second group I victory. Nathaniel’s win continued the recent good form for trainer John Gosden and jockey William Buick, who have both been red hot since Royal Ascot.
Nathaniel’s victory in the Coral-Eclipse was also the icing on the cake for co-owner Lady Rothschild, and for the broodmare Magnificient Style. Earlier that afternoon, Great Heavens, a 3-year-old full sister to Nathaniel that is owned by Lady Rothschild, won the Lancashire Oaks (Eng-II) at Haydock Park. The filly, which was unraced as a juvenile, now has won three of her four career starts.
A well-balanced field of 10 went to the post in the Coral-Eclipse, which saw the injury and subsequent retirement of early race favorite So You Think two days earlier. In addition to Nathaniel, Juddmonte was represented by the talented pair of Cityscape and Twice Over. Cityscape was looking to return to the form that carried him to a powerful 4 1/4-length win in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-IT) March 31. Twice Over won this race two years ago and was rounding back into top form as a 7-year-old for Sir Henry Cecil.
Godolphin was represented by three challengers in the race, led by Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Monterosso, who was making his first start since his three-length romp at Meydan. Frankie Dettori was aboard the lightly raced but very talented Farhh, who had finished a good third to So You Think in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Eng-I) last time out. The third Godolphin runner was City Style, who was entered to ensure a decent pace.
Italian raider Crackerjack King represented trainer Marco Botti. The 4-year-old gray colt had been transferred to Botti’s Newmarket yard after winning the Premio Presidente Della Repubblica (Ity-I) for his cousin Stefano in May.
City Style that went right to the lead. He was tracked closely by Nathaniel, with Cityscape and Crackerjack King just off the pace in third and fourth, respectively. Dettori had Farhh anchored near the back of the field along with Twice Over.
The order remained unchanged through the early stages. As the field rounded the turn for home, Buick made his move and sent Nathaniel to the front. Cityscape and Crackerjack King were soon in hot pursuit and began to close in on the leader.
Also closing steadily on the leaders was Farhh, who was weaving through traffic under a canny ride from Dettori. Once in the clear, Farhh shot past Cityscape and Crackerjack King, with Dettori setting his sights on Nathaniel.
The closest though, that the Godolphin colt could get was Nathaniel’s flank, as the Gosden colt had plenty left in the tank to win comfortably by a half-length. Twice Over closed late to finish third, 2 3/4 lengths behind Farhh.
Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:06.94 over the good to soft going.
After the race, Buick gave all the credit to Gosden, telling reporters, “It’s fantastic it’s going so well, but that was a fantastic training performance from John Gosden. To get this horse here and in the shape he was in, it’s a credit to John.”
As to future plans for Nathaniel, Gosden said, “He’s a super horse, but it has been very difficult to get him right as he has had a respiratory problem. It’s two weeks to the King George (Eng-I) and that’s not great. He’s put in a massive effort here, so we will just have to have a good think about whether we run again (so soon).”
“It will be fun to take on Frankel once more, as there was only half a length between them in a maiden a long time ago,” Gosden continued. "The Juddmonte (International) would be an option, as would the Champion Stakes at the end of the year.”
Nathaniel was bred in Ireland by Kincorth Investments, and is out of the stakes winning Silver Hawk mare, Magnificient Style. In addition to being a full brother to stakes winner Great Heavens, he is also a half-brother to stakes winners Stylelistick, Echoes In Eternity, Playful Act, Percussionist, Petara Bay, and Changing Skies.