St Nicholas Abbey beats Dunaden for an historic third Coronation Cup winPICTURE: Getty Images
Super St Nicholas Abbey makes it three in a row
Report: Epsom, Saturday
Investec Coronation Cup (Group 1) 1m4f, 4yo+
IT WAS three in a row for St Nicholas Abbey in this prestigious event, as was expected. The Aidan O'Brien-trained six-year-old landed odds of 3-10 in seeing off his main rival Dunaden comfortably enough and in doing became the first triple winner of this race. Joshua Tree was back in third.
In winning this St Nicholas Abbey also overtook Dunaden at the top of the European earnings' list - he has now amassed nearly £5 million in his career.
Joseph O'Brien was full of praise for his mount after the race, not to mention that he was excited about the future. "He's matured now," said the winning rider. "He was exceptional in his work the other morning."
Asked immediately after the race whether the son of Montjeu could become the top middle-distance horse this season, O'Brien replied: "I don't see why not."
And St Nicholas Abbey is certainly amassing a fine career. A champion at two, his three-year-old career proved a disaster, but at the place where we all expected him to be coming home in front in the Derby, it is in fact this race for older horses that he has dominated.
The race was every bit as straightforward as expected for odds-on backers. In a field of five where there were two pacemakers (one for the winner, one for Dunaden), it was only an even gallop that was set. The year-older Dunaden tracked his rival but never looked like getting to him, and over this trip at least, St Nicholas Abbey still shows plenty of pace.
That is now two wins this season, following his success in the Sheema Classic in Dubai, but where next? Paddy Power made him a 7-2 shot for the King George afterwards, but that is a race that he has run in twice before without success and he isn't getting any younger.
However St Nicholas Abbey doesn't owe anyone anything as six career Group 1s, not to mention a third place behind Frankel in last year's International at York, testifies.