Nathaniel ‘less than 50-50’ to meet Frankel
Friday 17 August 2012
Connections of Coral-Eclipse winner Nathaniel are unlikely to take on Frankel in next Wednesday's Juddmonte International Stakes unless there is significant rain at York.
That was the message from James Wigan, racing manager to Nathaniel's owner Lady Rothschild, though the John Gosden-trained colt is among nine possible opponents to Frankel in the Group One on the Knavesmire in six days' time.
Wigan said: "I would think it's unlikely we will run Nathaniel at York, certainly less than 50-50. I would say that on fast ground I couldn't see us beating Frankel. It would take a lot of rain to make us change our plan. We won't run him on fast ground."
He added: "However, the horse is extremely well and has taken his hard race in the King George in his stride."
Nathaniel went down by a nose to Arc heroine Danedream in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, just a fortnight after making all to win at Sandown and should he bypass York, his next race will be the Irish Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter at Leopardstown.
Wigan said: "If we decide to miss York the ground wouldn't matter in Ireland. Frankel is an exceptional horse, and he's not going there."
Sir Henry Cecil's Frankel is set to be joined by his regular pacemaker and three-parts brother Bullet Train, as well as his stablemate Twice Over, who won this prestigious Group One prize 12 months ago.
Aidan O'Brien has left in St Nicholas Abbey, dual winner of the Coronation Cup at Epsom and a four-time Group One scorer in all. The five-year-old got going all too late when third in the King George.
He, too, is likely to be joined by a stablemate in order to ensure there is a strong pace. Robin Hood and Windsor Palace are regulars in such a role.
Godolphin's Farhh chased home Frankel in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and could reoppose, but is also set to be given an entry in the Strensall Stakes later in the week. Planteur and Sri Putra complete the list of confirmations.