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Hat-trick seeking Abbey heads 12 in Investec Coronation Cup

15 May 2013

No horse has ever won the Investec Coronation Cup three times before, let alone in successive years, but the mighty St Nicholas Abbey, fresh from a fine victory in Dubai in March, is on course to do just that.

St Nicholas Abbey wins his first Investec Coronation Cup in 2011 – can he make it a record-breaking three-in-a-row this year?  Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

St Nicholas Abbey is set to try and create history by becoming the first horse to win the Investec Coronation Cup three times.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained six-year-old heads the 12 entries remaining after the May 14 scratchings deadline in the 2013 renewal of the Group 1 contest, which takes place over a mile and a half at Epsom Downs Racecourse on Investec Derby Day, Saturday 1 June.

It is the opening race in the Middle Distance division of the QIPCO British Champions Series. The Investec Derby itself is the second race in the category.

St Nicholas Abbey beat the high-class mare Midday by a length in 2011 and was imperious last year when he came home four and a half lengths in front of Red Cadeaux.

The Montjeu horse made the perfect start to 2013 in gaining his fifth Group 1 success on 30 March when beating Japanese star Gentildonna by two and a quarter lengths in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan.

He is an even-money chance with Coral, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, to gain a third Investec Coronation Cup victory.

O’Brien, who has won the Investec Coronation Cup six times in the last eight years, could also be represented by Chamonix, El Salvador, Ernest Hemingway and Imperial Monarch.

Group 2 winner Dandino joined the Newmarket yard of Marco Botti at the start of this season and shaped encouragingly for his new handler when runner-up in the Group 2 QIPCO Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket on 4 May.

The six-year-old is no stranger to Epsom Downs, having won a 10-furlong handicap on Investec Derby Day in 2010 and finished fourth in the 2011 Investec Coronation Cup.

Botti said: "We are considering the Investec Coronation Cup for Dandino. The owners have told me to leave him in the race and we will just monitor the ground because he is a fast ground horse.

"The long term plan is the Melbourne Cup and, although it would be good to win the Investec Coronation Cup, we have to be mindful of his handicap mark for Australia.

"If the race cut up and the ground is fine we might just have a look because the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, which is also an option, can be just a tough as a Group 1 now it has no penalties."

Main Sequence beat all bar the impressive Camelot in the 2012 Investec Derby and may try to go one better over the course and distance. He was third on his reappearance at Ascot on May 11, in the Listed Buckhounds Stakes.

International interest is provided by 2011 Melbourne Cup victor Dunaden, trained in France by Mikel Delzangles and Very Nice Name, who has been left in by Qatari-based Alban de Mieulle and was last seen out when third behind St Nicholas Abbey at Meydan.

Chapter Seven (Stuart Williams), Joshua Tree (Ed Dunlop) and Sir Graham Wade (Mark Johnston) complete the possible line-up for the Investec Coronation Cup, which has a record £350,000 in prize money this year.