St Nicholas Abbey returned to his brilliant best when easily winning the Ormonde Stakes at Chester on Friday.
Aidan O’Brien’s colt looked a potential superstar after a runaway victory in the 2009 Racing Post Trophy, but he was beaten into sixth when a red-hot favourite for the 2000 Guineas a little over a year ago.
He failed to fire on his recent comeback at the Curragh, when well beaten by Unaccompanied. The 11-8 chance travelled strongly throughout this one-mile-five-furlong Group Three encounter and quickened clear a furlong out.
Favourite Harris Tweed led the field into the straight, but St Nicholas Abbey picked him up with ease and ran on for an impressive nine-length victory.
Ryan Moore said: “He gave me a lovely feel. He was very settled and very relaxed.”
“It wasn’t a very nice race to ride in as we went quick and then slowed down and then went quick again, but he just did everything smoothly.
“It was a bad race, but he gave me a nice feel.”
Paul Smith, son of part-owner Derrick Smith, said: “I’m delighted to see him back.
“He travelled through the race beautifully and that was a really nice display.
“It was great to see the speed there and he stayed the trip very well.
“All options are open now, but I guess you’d look at something like the Coronation Cup.
“We never lost faith. He’s a quality horse and we always knew that.
“It’s great that he showed the crowd how good he was.”
Moore continued: “He’s done everything right today and got into a nice rhythm.
“I’ve gone on a bit earlier than I would have liked, but he was going so well I thought I’d let him go.
“He’s loved the quick ground and showed a lot of class.
“He was very relaxed going out and went to the start moving well. I expected him to win by the time I got to the start.
“The last day the ground was probably too sticky for him but it was nicer ground today and he was able to use his speed.
“He’s stayed a mile and five (furlongs) around Chester, which is an easy mile and five, but he wasn’t stopping.
“He’s a Racing Post Trophy winner and he has plenty of speed and plenty of stamina.
“He’d have won that race at any distance.”