Royal Lodge preview: Nelson on track to emulate sire Frankel

Fri 29 Sep 2017

Nelson is out to follow in his sire's footsteps by winning the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Trained by Aidan O'Brien, the son of Frankel is certainly bred to be good as his dam Moonstone was also a Classic winner in the Irish Oaks.

Frankel's win in the Royal Lodge was the first time he was asked a serious question, when Tom Queally made his move from last to first coming around the bend (when the race was still run at Ascot).

Back in third that day was Treasure Beach, a subsequent Irish Derby and Secretariat Stakes winner, and commentator Jim McGrath's statement as he crossed the line - "by golly he looks a champion" - proved to be spot on.

Nelson was beaten in his first two outings but two wins at Leopardstown, including in a Group Three recently, have promised plenty.

O'Brien said: "He's been in good form since Leopardstown and everything has gone well since."

With Herculean, another son of Frankel, a non-runner due to a dirty scope, Nelson's task has been made slightly easier but he does face an unbeaten colt in John Gosden's Roaring Lion.

Gosden does not train many for Qatar Racing, but this son of Kitten's Joy has looked impressive in winning his two starts to date.

However, Gosden is not enthused by the forecast.

"He is a nice horse and I like him a lot," he said. "I don't want to see too much more rain as he is best on good ground.

"He did it well last time at Kempton, although he had a good look at the big screen. He is a grand horse and we like him a lot."

Brian Meehan is never one for shirking a challenge and while his Petrus is one of the outsiders, the trainer has the Breeders' Cup in mind if all goes well. 

"I didn't think he'd win first time out (when behind Expert Eye) but he ran a lovely race to finish fourth," Meehan told Racing UK.

"Next time out I thought he'd improved and he went and did it nicely. He's in some nice races because I think he's worth putting in.

"If he steps up here, we might have a dilemma next year about where to run him.

"It would be no surprise to anyone here if he wins the Royal Lodge, we might look at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf if he does."

Mark Johnston's Mildenberger has only lost one out of four starts and that was in what is turning out to be a top-class renewal of the Vintage Stakes.

The winner Expert Eye is favourite for the 2000 Guineas, Mildenberger was third, with subsequent Mill Reef winner James Garfield and Champagne victor Seahenge behind him.

John Ryan's Midnight Wilde completes the field.

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