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St Nicholas Abbey - Churchill Downs - 5/11/2011

St Nicholas Abbey: Breeders' Cup Turf hero among Eclipse nominations

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Abbey and Cape Blanco up for Eclipse Awards

USA: Breeders' Cup Turf hero St Nicholas Abbey and stablemate Cape Blanco on Thursday featured among three horses shortlisted for the male turf award at the 2011 Eclipse Awards on January 16.

The Coolmore duo, who face stiff competition from Acclamation in their category, were the only European-trained horses among Thursday's nominations for the 16 different categories, which recognise outstanding achievements by horsesand individuals on the track in North America.

Following St Nicholas Abbey's success at Churchill Downs in November and Cape Blanco's three US Grade 1 victories between July and October, there had been suggestions that trainer Aidan O'Brien and owners Coolmore could make the shortlist for the owner and trainer awards but neither featured among the three nominations in either category.

Dubawi Heights, short-listed for the female turf horse award, could be celebratedas a success for Europe if getting the better of Perfect Shirl and ex-French mare Stacelita, as she's trained by Simon Callaghan and owned in partnership by his father Neville, who both previously trained in Newmarket.

Among the top US horses to feature among the nominations is high-class mare Havre De Grace, who finished an honourable fourth to Drosselmeyer in the Breeders' Cup Classic. She faces Awesome Maria and Blind Luck in the older female category. 

Representatives from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters will decide the winners at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.

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