Buick: ‘Nathaniel is a dream’
Saturday 7 July 2012
By Geoffrey Riddle
1 Nathaniel (W Buick) 7-2
2 Farhh (L Dettori) 11-4 Fav
3 Twice Over (T Queally) 16-1
Nathaniel shrugged off a 266-day layoff to deny a fast-finishing Farhh in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and hand the in-form team of William Buick and John Gosden another high-profile success.
Before the race Gosden had warned punters that his King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner would be undercooked but the four-year-old galloped all the way to the line and outstayed the Godolphin challenger, ridden by Frankie Dettori, by half a length. Twice Over, ridden by Tom Queally, was two and three quarters of a length back in third, while Cityscape was fourth.
“It was a gutsy performance and he showed his quality today,” Buick said. “I could see Frankie in the corner of my eye. Farrh is a speed horse and Frankie left it really late but we held on. He reacted to the presence of Farhh.
"He was there to be shot at and in between the two and one pole he quickened really well. He’s very honest and he’s a rider’s dream. He put me on the map last year and he’s quality.”
John Gosden was impressed by his charge’s ability to last home in such a gruelling contest without a prep run and believed that Dettori might have nicked the £241,584 winner’s cheque inside the final furlong.
“Monterosso attacked us, Cityscape attacked us and then that bugger Dettori came up to attack us,” Gosden, who completed a treble with Trade Comissioner and Great Heavens, Nathaniel's full sister, in the Lancashire Oaks, said. "I saw his white cap streak up and I thought that was the moment the boxer was on the ropes and the knockout punch was coming. Were we headed though? No.”
Nathaniel was cut across the board for the King George, run on July 21, with William Hill offering the best-price at 3-1. Paddy Power are as short as 5-2, while Aidan O’Brien’s St Nicholas Abbey is their 9-4 favourite.
Although there is only two weeks until the King George at Ascot, Gosden outlined that the 12-furlong contest was very much still the target although he will wait until the horse returns to Clarehaven before making a final decision.
"He's a super horse, but it has been very difficult to get him right as he has had a respiratory problem. It's two weeks to the King George and that's not great.
"He's put in a massive effort here, so we will just have to have a good think about whether we run again (so soon)."
If Nathaniel does miss the King George, the Juddmonte International at York next month would be an option, but Gosden was loathe to take on Frankel and preferred to meet him as Ascot in the season-ending Champion Stakes in October.
"The Juddmonte would be an option, as would the Champion Stakes at the end of the year,” he added. “I love Frankel too much to take him on there, though, and would prefer Ascot. It will be fun to take on Frankel once more, as there was only half a length between them in a maiden a long time ago.”
For the Godolphin camp there was a sense of vindication as Farhh justified entry by running a huge race under Dettori. The Italian rider reported that his mount was simply outstayed.
Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager, expressed pride at a second podium finish at the highest level in a fortnight but concern at Monterosso’s performance after the Dubai World Cup winner could only finish seventh.
“We are delighted really. Farrh ran a huge race,” he said. “As for Monterosso will have to see. He was rusty. We have no plans for him yet but you will have to judge him on his next race. He has good form on turf, and has won at Royal Ascot on it, but we will just have to see.”