Recent Posts

St Nic's Montjeu spirit | Sky Sports | Home on Astini News

St Nic's Montjeu spirit

St Nicholas Abbey: High-profile son of Montjeu

Also see

St Nicholas Abbey, a son of Montjeu, would be a poignant winner of Saturday's Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan.&

The five-year-old is a son of the brilliant Montjeu, who sadly passed away this week.

Already the winner of a Coronation Cup, he provided Joseph O'Brien with the biggest win of his career when swopping late in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

"It would mean a lot for St Nicholas Abbey to win after the death of his sire Montjeu (who stood at Coolmore)," said Tom Magnier, son of John Magnier, one of the Coolmore triumvirate.

"Joseph O'Brien rode him brilliantly to win the Breeders' Cup Turf and is on board again on Saturday.

"The lads who travelled with the horses are very pleased with their condition.

"Since I got here everyone has been telling me they horses look fantastic, and I agreed when I saw them this morning.

"We have six runners (at the meeting) this year; when there is such fantastic prize money you have got to send horses and compete for it. We are very much looking forward to tomorrow."

Treasure Beach also represents Coolmore and O'Brien in the Sheema Classic, and a share has recently been bought by Jim and Fitri Hay.

That means their retained jockey Jamie Spencer is on board but he is aware of the task facing the Irish Derby and Secretariat Stakes winner.

"The horse has strong form but there are others in the race with strong credentials," Spencer said.

"Cirrus Des Aigles has won a Champion Stakes, St Nicholas Abbey a Breeders' Cup Turf, so mine will have to be somewhere near his best."

High-class French ace

Olivier Peslier is looking forward to teaming up with Cirrus Des Aigles for the first time.

The French-trained gelding proved something of a revelation last term, winning four times at Group Two and Three level before stepping up to the highest level in the Champion Stakes.

The six-year-old claimed the scalp of Ballydoyle star So You Think that day before going on to take fifth in the Hong Kong Cup.

He said: "It will be the first time I have ridden him in a race but I know the horse very well from Europe and he will be happier back on turf.

"Stamina is not an issue. I had a spin on him on Thursday morning which will have loosened him up nicely and he goes into Saturday's race with a big chance."

Trainer Corinne Barande-Barbe said: "He did a canter on the turf (on Thursday). He is very relaxed and looks in fine form.

"He looks light, but one mustn't forget that he is a gelding. In fact, he is well in his racing weight."

British raiders

British hopes are pinned on Marco Botti's Jakkalberry and the William Haggas-trained Beaten Up.

The latter won each of his three starts last term, culminating in a Group Three triumph and while Haggas admits he has plenty on his place, he feels Beaten Up is worth a try.

Haggas said: "He is progressive but is taking on serious horses - a Champion Stakes winner, a Breeders' Cup winner and an Irish Derby winner to name but three.

"I am under no illusion of the task he faces and it may come early in his career but you can't win if you don't try."

Mike de Kock rerouted Bold Silvano to this race after he disappointed in his trial for the Dubai World Cup.

He looked a world-beater when winning at Meydan in February 2011 but a setback then kept him off the track for just over a year.

"We had really thought he was our Dubai World Cup horse but he has not really fired having returned from injury," said De Kock.

"His Super Saturday run in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round III was a big disappointment but he managed to get his tongue over the bit, swallowed some all-weather and was coughing after the race.

"He is probably better on turf and stays well so the Sheema Classic looks the right race for him."

Rival challengers

Godolphin field three contenders, with Cavalryman the mount of Frankie Dettori after his much-improved effort when second in the Dubai City Of Gold last time.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: "Cavalryman ran very well in his prep race and it was his best run for some time.

"He was fresh and well that day and seems to be going into this race in good order but has to continue his comeback."

Bin Suroor also fields Songcraft, of whom he said: "Songcraft has been very consistent and I think there is more to come.

"However, he needs to improve quite a lot to make an impact in this tougher company."

Shimraan, Group Two winner in France, has hardly sparkled in two Meydan starts so far.

Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni said: "Shimraan has had a couple of slightly disappointing runs out here.

"However, he has been going well in his work and I expect him to perform better. We should find out whether he stays a truly-run 12 furlongs."

What's on Your Mind...