Abbey back to his brilliant best with Chester romp

After 12 months in the wilderness Aidan O’Brien’s St Nicholas Abbey returned to form with a vengeance when blitzing his rivals in landing the Group 3 Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes on the final day of the Chester May meeting, and in the process silenced those critics who suggested he should have been retired after a poor effort on his seasonal return at the Curragh six weeks ago, writes Elliot Slater.

One of the most brilliant juvenile colts of recent times when his three wins included a scintillating victory in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October 2009, the Montjeu colt was at one time as short as 6/1 in the horse racing betting to win the English Triple Crown of the 2000 Guineas, Derby, and St Leger, as many seasoned observers took the view that he could be one of the best three-year-old colts of the modern era.

Nothing is ever quite so straightforward in horse racing as was proved when St Nicholas Abbey made his debut as a three-year-old in last year’s 2000 Guineas where he was sent off the Evens favourite, but could only finish a laboured sixth behind the shock 33/1 scorer, French star Makfi. Although the intention had been for him to take in the Derby and other top notch events, O’Brien’s colt suffered a series of training setbacks and wasn’t seen again last term.

After flopping when a 4/11 shot on his seasonal bow last month few believed St Nicholas Abbey could reproduce his old form, but at Chester he showed he still has that elusive star quality when tracking front-running Harris Tweed to the turn before being unleashed with a scintillating run in the home straight that saw him storm clear to score by nine-lengths from Allied Powers.

The Coronation Cup at Epsom now looks likely to be the next stop for the back-to-form Irish star who could well take in a number of other major international middle-distance contests later on in the season.

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