St Nic has point to prove

Aidan O’Brien singled out Point of Entry as the main stumbling block to St Nicholas Abbey’s attempt to retain his Breeders’ Cup Turf crown at Santa Anita on Saturday.

St Nic has point to prove

The five-year-old Montjeu entire gave the Ballydoyle trainer and his jockey son, Joseph, an emotional success at Churchill Downs 12 months ago.

Just as last year, St Nicholas Abbey has to bounce back from defeat in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe a month earlier.

“He’s in good form and we are happy with him,” said O’Brien snr.

“He also loves fast ground, but when he ran in the Arc, it was heavy and Joseph said he was in trouble early on.

“He absolutely thrives on travelling and, as usual, has taken it all in his stride.

“I do recognise that Point Of Entry looks one of the best Turf horses the Americans have had for a while.”

O’Brien has a line through Point Of Entry as his other Turf contender, Treasure Beach, went down by a length and three-quarters to Shug McGaughey’s four-year-old at Belmont in September.

“He’s progressed well and fast ground will suit him,” said O’Brien.

“He’ll be properly forward. We think he has progressed again.”

McGaughey is looking forward to taking on all-comers, including those from Europe.

“I think it is a very worthy challenge. That’s what makes it the Breeders’ Cup,” he said.

“Without the European influence the Breeders’ Cup wouldn’t be what it is.

“I’m looking forward to it.

“If we were able to win, we’d be able to say we beat some of the best horses internationally.”

Former Newmarket trainer Simon Callaghan, now based in the US, saddles Slim Shadey, who was formerly with Stan Moore in Hungerford, for whom he was fourth to Frankel in last year’s 2000 Guineas. “He loves the course and the fast ground on the turf track,” said Callaghan.

“He needs to step up off a win in a Grade Two but he seems tremendously well in himself.”

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