Courageous Nathaniel puts revenge on agenda

 

If that was the dress rehearsal, then bring on opening night, wherever it may be. In yesterday's Eclipse Stakes Nathaniel, ridden by William Buick, defied his trainer John Gosden's pre-race warnings about lack of match sharpness by taking the 10-furlong Group One prize by a hard-fought half-length. The four-year-old had not run for nine months but his class and courage overcame any perceived disadvantages as he repelled all comers, headed by the favourite Farhh, after a long strike for home up the most demanding run-in on the circuit.

Nathaniel, last year's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes hero, had missed his planned seasonal prep because of a mild infection, and although it was assumed yesterday's contest was a warm-up for his bid for a repeat in the 12-furlong Ascot showpiece in 13 days' time, his success over the shorter distance has opened the door to an intriguing alternative.

When Nathaniel first ran as a juvenile he was beaten half-a-length by another debutant who has turned out rather special, by name Frankel. "It would be fun to take him on again," said Gosden, "and the Juddmonte International would be an option."

That 10-furlong contest, next month at York, would allow Nathaniel a longer recovery time, something of which Gosden is keenly aware. "He's a super horse," he said, "but it has been difficult to get him right as he has had a respiratory problem. It's only two weeks to the King George and that's not great. He's put in a massive effort here so we will now have a good think about whether we run again so soon."

Gosden and Buick are in the best of form – the Newmarket stable's 22 winners in June included a Royal Ascot five-timer – and the jockey's first reaction after this success was to credit his boss's skill. "It was a fantastic training performance to get Nathaniel here and in the shape he's in," he said. "I've always had a lot of faith in the horse and he showed today how really good he is."

Fair enough. But praise must also go to the young rider, who took full advantage of the way the contest panned out perfectly for him. One of his rivals, City Style, may have been the pacemaker for the Godolphin attack of Farhh and Monterosso, but he could not have done the job better for Nathaniel either.

Buick sat in the leader's slipstream until the turn-in and then, on the one horse in the field with proven 12-furlong stamina allied to top-level class, kicked clear to face the half-mile uphill drag to the line. Cityscape and Crackerjack King went in pursuit but could not cope, and it was left to Farhh, brought from off the pace by Frankie Dettori, to provide the challenge.

That progressive colt, the 11-4 market leader, proved his good Royal Ascot showing at this level behind So You Think – denied his swansong in the Eclipse by lameness – was no fluke, but his best yesterday was not quite good enough. He was almost level deep inside the final furlong but Nathaniel's determination was such that as he stuck his head forward his neck seemed to lengthen.

In the final furlong Twice Over ran past the fading Cityscape, in the same Khalid Abdullah colours, to claim third in a race he won two years ago, with the ex-Italian Crackerjack King a respectable fifth.

If Gosden and Buick are on fire, then so are Nathaniel's owners, the Rothschild family. Nathaniel was their seventh winner from as many runners including, less than an hour before the Eclipse Stakes, the star colt's year-younger sister and stablemate Great Heavens, who ran away with the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock.

News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Proust as Captain Laure Berthaud in 'Spiral'
tvReview: Gritty, engaging and well-acted - it’s a wonder France’s biggest TV export isn’t broadcast on a more mainstream channel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Carmichael in still from Madam Bovary trailer
film
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links