Nathaniel set to take on world’s best again

NATHANIEL could take on Frankel in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York after he failed by the narrowest of margins to land back-to-back renewals of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

The John Gosden-trained four-year-old, who won the Coral-Eclipse only two weeks earlier, went down by a nose to Arc winner Danedream at Ascot on Saturday.

Nathaniel could renew rivalry with his nemesis at Longchamp in October, but might have a more pressing engagement against the world’s highest-rated thoroughbred.

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“He ate up well and is fine,” said Gosden. “The great thing is that he doesn’t know he got beat. He thinks it was a dead-heat!

“The races we are looking at for him are the Juddmonte International, the Arc, and the Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and Newmarket. He will probably run in two of those.”

The two horses clashed on their racecourse debut nearly two years ago, Frankel only narrowly beating Nathaniel at Newmarket.

Gosden’s Great Heavens, a full sister to Nathaniel, is on course for the Yorkshire Oaks – and possibly Doncaster’s St Leger – after she showed a spellbinding shift of gear to win the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh. It was a 24th birthday to savour for in-form jockey William Buick, who also rode Nathaniel.

The Juddmonte International, Yorkshire Oaks and St Leger are all part of the British Champions Series which has been boosted by Qipco extending its sponsorship for a further five years.

York stages its richest evening meeting in history on Friday. It will also be a testimonial for Northallerton jump jockey Phil Kinsella, whose career has been curtailed by injury.

Today’s racecards: Page 18.