Frankel needs some credible opposition for the Juddmonte International, but unfortunately St Nicholas Abbey is not the answer.
It is 1/8 that Frankel wins at York on his first start at 1m2f and all that has happened in the past week is that chief rivals Cirrus Des Aigles and Nathaniel have been declared unlikely opposition.
Therefore, comments from Aidan O’Brien stating that St Nicholas Abbey is a probable opponent are somewhat refreshing.
However, although St Nicholas Abbey is certainly a talented racehorse, especially considering a prior victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, he is nowhere near the calibre of Frankel over the York trip.
St Nicholas Abbey almost certainly needs 1m4f as a minimum, but is probably most effective over 1m6f.
What is clear given defeats to Windsor Palace and Unaccompanied in his last two attempts at 1m2f, is that speed and mainly acceleration are not his forte and at York he will be taking on the quickest of them all.
It certainly seems to take St Nicholas Abbey a while to find top gear and Frankel will be long gone before he reaches top speed.
The only hope that St Nicholas Abbey has is that he will almost certainly stay on right to the line and therefore could profit if Frankel’s potential stamina doubts prove true.
O’Brien currently has seven horses entered into the Juddmonte International and the best of his anticipated challengers could prove to be Imperial Monarch.
Imperial Monarch has already beaten Epsom Derby fourth Thought Worthy over 10f this season and was triumphant in a Group One in France on his latest start.
He was all-out to hang on over 1m4f and so a drop back in trip for the Juddmonte could be ideal.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.