St Nicholas Abbey wins Coronation Cup at Epsom

St Nicholas Abbey could head to Royal Ascot after defending his crown in the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup at Epsom with a brilliant performance under Joseph O'Brien.

St Nicholas Abbey could head to Royal Ascot after defending his crown in the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup at Epsom with a brilliant performance under Joseph O'Brien.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained son of Montjeu was sent off the 8-11 favourite to get back to winning ways, having suffered a shock defeat at the hands of his pacemaker Windsor Palace on his reappearance at the Curragh.

Last year's Breeders' Cup Turf hero was settled towards the rear in the early stages of the mile-and-a-half test, but he was still full of running when O'Brien eased his mount closer rounding the home bend.

While his rivals began to toil, St Nicholas Abbey shot into a clear lead and only had to be pushed out in the final furlong to score by four and a half lengths.

Ed Dunlop's Red Cadeaux came from the back to claim the runner-up spot.

O'Brien junior said: "When he goes to sleep early in his races, he's a very special horse. He has always shown a lot of ability and he's really coming back to his old form.

"I got to the front too soon as he picked up going past the four-furlong marker and I didn't want to disappoint him.

"When he relaxes and quickens up like that, it takes a very good one to go near him."

The winning trainer said: "I'm delighted with that. He got him into a lovely rhythm and he was nice and relaxed. He's got a lot of class.

"The Prince of Wales's (at Royal Ascot) is an option along with the King George and the Arc, all those races, but the lads will decide.

"It took him a long time to come back to himself but he's back there now, I'd have no problem with him running over 10 furlongs as he's not short of speed."

Part-owner Derrick Smith said: "He's just vindicated everything we knew about him.

"It was a procession really. It was very, very impressive."

Dunlop was delighted with the money-spinning Red Cadeaux, second in the Melbourne Cup last season and winner of the Yorkshire Cup on his last run at York.

He said: "I'm over the moon, we knew it was a long shot coming here but he's probably run the race of his life.

"He's an absolute superstar and I think we'll have to treat him with a bit more respect.

"He's in the Hardwicke at Ascot, not the Gold Cup.

"We'll have to see what the (Australian) handicapper does but he'll have a lot of weight now in Melbourne. The owner is still keen to go."

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