St Nicholas Abbey to land O’Brien his sixth 2000 Guineas

I was at Doncaster last season when ST NICHOLAS ABBEY spread-eagled a decent looking field in the Racing Post Trophy and thought then, as I do now, that I may have witnessed something special. It was the manner in which he effortlessly quickened away from his opposition that was so taking and if he lines up at Newmarket tomorrow in the same form, he is impossible to oppose.

Elusive Pimpernel, who finished second at Doncaster, looked in great heart when bolting up in the Craven, but he needs to improve dramatically to trouble our selection. I think he is clear second best and John Dunlop’s colt looks the one for forecast punters. Canford Cliffs and Awzaan both look unlikely stayers to me and I wouldn’t rule out Aidan O’Brien’s third string Viscount Nelson to grab that last place at a massive looking 50/1 with William Hill.

Looking elsewhere on Newmarket’s card tomorrow and I’ll be having a few quid on CLAREMONT in the Jockey Club Stakes. He ran a cracker behind Harbinger last time and his trainer had his first British success earlier in the week. I will also be backing in-form Michael Bell’s WIGMORE HALL in the 4.50pm contest. I cannot remember ever seeing an easier winner at Newmarket when he bolted up in a handicap last time and he should take this step up in class in his stride.

It’s the fillies turn to strut their stuff on Sunday and regular followers of this column will have already backed French raider Special Duty for the 1000 Guineas. She is the classiest filly in the race and if she stays, I think she’ll win. I cannot believe how short Seta is in the betting and 9/2 seems a crazy price, with or without Kieren Fallon. The money has come all week for Richard Hannon’s POLLENATOR and she may well be the only value left in the race. She won in the style of a really useful type at Doncaster when last seen, handles fast ground and is apparently in rude health.

The same stable also send out the highly regarded SHEER COURAGE in the maiden at 4.30pm and the speedy colt will be ridden by Ryan Moore. He is reportedly very speedy and should take plenty of catching over the minimum trip. Finally, PRINCIPAL ROLE looks like another talented Henry Cecil trained filly and there was a lot to like about the way she ran on to finish third in the Nell Gwyn on only her second racecourse start. She looks hard to oppose in the Pretty Polly at 5.05pm and could develop into a lively Oaks contender.


CLAREMONT Newmarket 2.25pm (Sat)
ST NICHOLAS ABBEY Newmarket 3.05pm (Sat)
WIGMORE HALL Newmarket 4.50pm (Sat)
POLLENATOR e/w Newmarket 3.20pm (Sun)
SHEER COURAGE Newmarket 4.30pm (Sun)
PRINCIPAL ROLE Newmarket 5.05pm (Sun)