Nathaniel returns in style
17:00, 07 Jul 2012
Nathaniel produced a tremendous performance on his first run of the year to land a thrilling Coral-Eclipse at Sandown this afternoon.
Sharply away from the stalls, the John Gosden-trained King George winner (7-2) was always in the perfect position under a confident William Buick.
Sent on three furlongs out, he found plenty for pressure to repel the strong challenge of 11-4 favourite Farhh.
Twice Over (16-1), the winner in 2010, was third for Sir Henry Cecil.
Unlike in the Prince of Wales's Stakes when he reared up as the gates were about to open, Farhh, the mount of Frankie Dettori, broke well on this occasion.
Dettori took him back towards the rear of the field as stablemate City Style cut out the early pace under Ahmed Ajtebi.
Monterosso, another Godolphin runner and having his first start since winning the Dubai World Cup, was also handy alongside Nathaniel but began to struggle off the home bend.
Cityscape loomed up as a big danger but Nathaniel was still at the head of affairs with a quarter-mile to run as Buick began to hit top gear.
Dettori conjured a strong charge from Farhh but Nathaniel never really looked like getting beat and was well on top at the line for a half-length victory.
Twice Over ran a tremendous race in third.
Nathaniel was cut to 5-2 from 9-2 for the King George at Ascot on July 21 by Paddy Power - but Gosden is wary of the short time between the two races and raised an intriguing alternative.
He said: "He's a super horse, but it has been very difficult to get him right as he has had a respiratory problem. It's two weeks to the King George and that's not great.
"He's put in a massive effort here, so we will just have to have a good think about whether we run again (so soon).
"It will be fun to take on Frankel once more, as there was only half a length between them in a maiden a long time ago. The Juddmonte (International) would be an option, as would the Champion Stakes at the end of the year."
Nathaniel was winning a short time after his full-sister Great Heavens won the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock in the same colours, with Trade Commissioner also obliging at Sandown for the same connections.
Gosden said: "It's been a great day for all the staff, especially the owners, three winners and they bred them all."
Farhh's trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: "He travelled very well all the way but was beaten by a better horse today. There is no plan but we will keep to Group One races at the same distance."
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Twice Over's owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "He had been freshened up and has run a blinder. We were very pleased."
Roger Charlton's Cityscape was a creditable fourth in the Abdullah colours and Grimthorpe said: "He didn't quite stay after travelling very well through the race.
"We could look at something like the Jacques le Marois, I imagine he wouldn't go for the Sussex if Frankel does."