Head start for Jo’burg colt in Nunthorpe Stakes

The Nunthorpe Stakes is the third and final Group 1 of the Ebor carnival on Friday and the feature sprint will climax a wonderful week at York.

Sea The Stars (Cape Cross) increased his value as the world’s most valuable thoroughbred in the G1 Juddmonte International on Tuesday.  Sesenta (King’s Theatre) won the Ebor on Wednesday and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s filly Dar Re Mi (Singspiel) upset Sariska in the G1 Yorkshire Oaks on Thursday.
This year’s Nunthorpe is being billed as a battle of the ages.

RADIOHEAD (2c Johannesburg – Security Interest by Belong To Me) will be taking on older horses for the first time but two year-olds have a proven track record in the race courtesy of recent winners Lyric Fantasy (1992) and Kingsgate Native (2007).

The Brian Meehan trained colt is a last start winner of the G2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot and connections have skipped easier options against his own age group to run in the Coolmore Stud sponsored race.

Meehan trained Lady Of Desert (Rahy) to win the G2 Lowther Stakes on Thursday and he is quietly confident of completing a feature double within 24 hours.

“Our lad is an exciting horse,” trainer Brian Meehan said.  “He’s very fast and we wouldn’t run if we didn’t think he could win.  The fact he gets a weight allowance is a further boost to his chances.”

KINGSGATE NATIVE (Mujadil) has been installed a 5-2 favourite to win his second Nunthorpe.  He returned to training this year after low fertility stalled his stud career at Cheveley Park.  An impressive Group 3 victory at the Glorious Goodwood carnival earlier this month indicated is back as good as ever.

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute revealed Kingsgate Native had swelling in a joint after the first-up win but it has since settled down.  “I hasn’t hindered his preparation,” Stoute said.  “He was a bit ring-rusty.  After six months off it takes time for everything to click back into place.”

BORDERLESCOTT (Compton Place) will be aiming for back-to-back Nunthorpes while 2006 winner REVERENCE (Mark Of Esteem) will only run if there’s more give in the ground than has been the case during the first three days of Ebor week.

DANDY MAN (Mozart) will make his fourth consecutive appearance in the race for the in-form Godolphin team.  His best effort came in 2007 when he finished third to Kingsgate Native.

The Nunthorpe is timed for 12.25am (AEST) on Friday night.