Abbey to enjoy drying ground in King George VI
By Stephen, bettingexpert.com | Published
Google+: Stephen Harris
Aidan O'Brien's top class St Nicholas Abbey has the drying ground come in his favour and can land the King George Vi and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
The 5-y-o rounded off last season with a defeat of Sea Moon in the Breeders Cup Turf, and comes here following a second successive win in the Coronation Cup at Epsom. He has proved uneasy in the ante-post exchanges leading upto this race with soft ground looking assured as the rain continued, however a drying few days and a sunny forecast for today means conditions should be perfect. With rider Joseph O'Brien really impressing this season, he can quicken past more staying types in the closing stages.
The £1,000,000 Group 1 prize has attracted a superb field and perhaps Sea Moon will prove the main threat to our selection. Sir Michael Stoute's 4-y-o was placed in the St Leger and Breeders Cup Turf last term and is unbeaten in two starts this year. He was apparently impressive when quickening clear to beat Dunaden 3¼L in the Hardwicke Stakes (fast pace rather folded in front of him and possibly slightly flattered with trouble in behind). However, he showed his darker side when all out to scramble home at Goodwood first time out and perhaps is vulnerable at the highest level.
Nathaniel won this prize in 2011 and hinted at even better to come this time round when making a successful reappearance in the Coral Eclipse at Sandown (1m2f). A return to 1m4f will be right up his street, but there has to be a concern that he will "bounce" turned out so quickly after an injury interrupted his preparation earlier in the season.
Away from the front three Dunaden looks an interesting each-way alternative. He had an excellent second half of 2011, impressively winning the Melbourne Cup and Hong Kong Vase, and was very unlucky not to finish closer when second to Sea Moon at the Royal meeting. Aussie Craig Williams takes over in the saddle and he could well surprise if getting the breaks in the straight as he tries to close from rear.
German raider Danedream took off in 2011, including a stunning 5L victory in the Arc de Triomphe in October. She comfortably won on home turf on her seasonal return, but was a very disappointing last of four in France last time out and suddenly has a bit to prove after that flop.
Reliable Man has rather struggled at this level since winning the 2011 French Derby, while Brown Panther will find this immensely harder than the modest Pontefract Listed race he won in June.
In summary, a fantastic renewal sure to be run at a rapid pace with a pacemaker in place. St Nicholas Abbey has taken time to reach his peak this season but looked close to the finished article at Epsom and can outpace the "stayers" Sea Moon and Nathaniel from the furlong pole. At around 7-2 this morning a maximum win investment is recommended.
Stephen's Saturday Nap Diaminda 2.10 Ascot
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