Nathaniel: John Gosden's comments haven't dented confidence in himPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Nathaniel strong in
market for Leopardstown
CONFIDENCE appears to be strong behind Nathaniel for victory in Saturday's mouthwatering clash with Snow Fairy and St Nicholas Abbey in the Group 1 Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes, despite trainer John Gosden saying his runner will not be at his peak.
Snow Fairy's jockey Frankie Dettori said he was unsure about how seriously he was planning to take Gosden's comments and bookmakers have followed suit with Ladbrokes shortening the Coral-Eclipse winner to 11-10 favourite (from 5-4). William Hill also cut him to 11-10 (from 11-8).
Nathaniel, Snow Fairy and St Nicholas Abbey will be joined in the Irish Champion Stakes by Born To Sea, Light Heavy and Daddy Long Legs and Pat Keogh, Leopardstown's chief executive, believes it will be "a race to remember".
He said: "We're delighted with the standard of the field for the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes this year as it features really exciting horses."
The ground for Saturday evening's race was described as good on both courses on Thursday by Nessa Joyce, racing operations manager at the course.
She added: "We're expecting further dry and bright weather up to Saturday. We're very happy with the ground at present. The heavy rain throughout the summer has helped the ground retain moisture naturally, even though we've had a week without rain."