This weekend will see John Gosden’s Nathaniel and Great Heavens face stiff challenges from Irish rivals in The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Irish Oaks. The siblings both owned by the Rothschilds come into their races off wins achieved only two weekends ago. Nathaniel fought bravely to claim the Eclipse on his seasonal return and Great Heavens pulled away from the field impressively to land the Group two Lancashire Oaks. The short break has been a concern for Gosden who told Chris Cook (Guardian) that he was “certainly rolling the dice” even though both charges are well.
On Saturday Nathaniel will face a competitive field at Ascot with Sea Moon and St Nicholas Abbey looking big dangers. St Nicholas Abbey drifted badly this week on Betfair but does look an attractive price at 7/2 on his Coronation Stakes performance. There is no doubt O’Brien will have his challenger ready and he will have the tempo he wants with the pacemaker included. Sea Moon improved from his first win this season with his victory at Royal Ascot but this would be a significant ask again.
Great Heavens who was many people’s banker a couple of Saturday’s ago (and Crockford’s Dead Cert) has even tougher opposition in what looks a cracking Irish Oaks on Sunday. The field against her includes the Epsom Oaks winner and second (Was and Shirocco Star) and even more significantly the emphatic Ribblesdale victor Princess Highway who looks excellent value at 9/4.
Gosden has had a brilliant summer where others have floundered. However, the trainer and the Rothschild’s certainly do do not have a brother and sister double to bank on this weekend – It is likely that the Irish will have the whip hand in at least one contest.