I HAVE long thought that ST NICHOLAS ABBEY is a horse to follow this season and, although he was a disappointing beaten favourite on his appearance, his win at Chester showed that he may well yet show us the class that he promised as a champion two year old.
The son of Montjeu runs over 1m 4f at Epsom, which was his destiny from first being foaled, although there is one slight flaw in that he is running in the Coronation Cup at four years rather running in The Derby at three.
The one-time ante post Derby favourite makes his belated first appearance at Epsom on Friday and will face a maximum of six rivals. The major threat is the Henry Cecil trained Midday, the multiple Group One winning filly, who was successful on her reappearance in the Middleton Stakes at York. The James Given pair of Dandino and Indian Days are tough and consistent, however they should not have the class to compete with a horse such as St Nicholas Abbey, and he is taken to win well.
TIMEPIECE is a filly that I followed for the duration of last year, suffering with many others when she didn’t perform as expected in the Investec Oaks. However, she can gain redemption in the Investec Princess Elizabeth Stakes. The Group 3 race is a hotly contested affair, with some very good group quality animals on show, including Antara, the Godolphin five year old who won the race last year. She has good form in the locker, the best of which came when defeated a head by Stacelita in the Prix Jean Romanet (Group 1) in France.
She should be tough to beat, but Timepiece may be better value. She was nothing but progressive last year, really putting her career back on track following Epsom’s disappointment. She won at Royal Ascot, before winning a listed race. Her run behind Midday in the Totesport Middleton Stakes at York should have blown the cobwebs off and put her cherry ripe for this race.
It is usually an indicative sign of how strongly Godolphin fancy one of their runners at ‘lesser’ tracks when stable jockey Frankie Dettori is on board, and they have an interesting runner at Nottingham in LA DE TWO. He runs in the Class Two conditions stakes, and is back from two runs in Meydan, where, although unsuccessful, he was not disgraced. Before that he ran Free Agent close in a Conditions race at Salisbury, and there is clearly promise there. He has possibly had problems as he’s had only seven runs under his belt, but based on his runs at Meydan he has to be respected here.
4.15 Nottingham (Wednesday) - La De Two
1.40 Epsom (Friday) - Timepiece
2.45 Epsom (Friday) - St Nicholas Abbey (NAP)