Nathaniel "less than 50-50" for York
Connections of Coral-Eclipse winner Nathaniel are unlikely to take on Frankel in next Wednesday's Juddmonte International Stakes unless there is significant rain at York.
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That was the message from James Wigan, racing manager to Nathaniel's owner Lady Rothschild, after he had supervised the saddling of Trade Commissioner in the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury on Thursday afternoon.
Nathaniel, trained by John Gosden, is among nine possible opponents to Frankel in the Group One on the Knavesmire in six days' time which will be that unbeaten colt's first attempt at a mile and a quarter.
Wigan said: "I would think it's unlikely we will run Nathaniel at York, certainly less than 50-50. I would say that on fast ground I couldn't see us beating Frankel. It would take a lot of rain to make us change our plan. We won't run him on fast ground.
"However, the horse is extremely well and has taken his hard race in the King George in his stride."
Nathaniel went down by a nose to Arc heroine Danedream in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, just a fortnight after making all to win at Sandown.
Should he bypass York, his next race will be the Irish Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter at Leopardstown.
Wigan said: "If we decide to miss York the ground wouldn't matter in Ireland. Frankel is an exceptional horse, and he's not going there."
Ground conditions at York remained on the quick side of good on Thursday, despite substantial rainfall on Wednesday evening.
Having eased to good, good to firm in places this morning, a drying day saw the ground back to good to firm, good in places at 3.30pm.