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Tuesday 26 September 2017

Abbey has Derby date despite flop

St Nicholas Abbey remains on course for a tilt at the Investec Derby despite being beaten into sixth in the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

An awesome display in last year's Racing Post Trophy meant Aidan O'Brien's colt was sent off the even-money favourite for the season's first Classic, but he passed the post just over three lengths behind French raider Makfi.

O'Brien believes the pace of the contest was not beneficial for his charge and he remains in line for a trip to Epsom next month.

"Unfortunately, the Guineas did not work out as hoped. There was little or no pace early on and the race turned into a bit of a sprint home," the trainer said.

"St Nicholas Abbey ran quite well considering he raced a bit fresh early, but was coming home well at the finish.

"We will see how he comes out of the race and if everything goes according to plan we will aim him for the Investec Derby next."

O'Brien was also pleased with the performance of the seventh home Fencing Master and offered excuses for Viscount Nelson, who could only finish 11th.

"Fencing Master ran well for his first start of the season, he would probably have preferred a stronger pace as well," the Ballydoyle handler added.

"If all is well in the coming weeks, we would like to go to the Irish Guineas next with him. Viscount Nelson reared up and got quite upset in the stalls, Kieren (Fallon) thought that he moved beautifully to the start but didn't pick up in the middle of the race as he felt he would do."

Chinese White is likely to step back up in class after the grey's superb Listed triumph at Gowran.

Dermot Weld's five-year-old mare secured her sixth career success in impressive style when winning the EBF Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes by three and a half lengths.

Weld said of the 7-4 favourite: "She did that impressively. We'll discuss with the owners as to where to go next.

"She is in foal to Cape Cross, that was just confirmed on Friday, so we have a nice bit of time. There are a number of possibilities, the Pretty Polly (Curragh) being the most obvious -- that's the main reason we've kept her in training.

"She has put in some excellent performances so we'll see if we can win a Group One with her."

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