04/01/2011 11:48AM

Curragh the scene of St Nicholas Abbey's return


St Nicholas Abbey, the 2009 European juvenile champion, makes his long-awaited return to the races at the Curragh on Sunday when he goes in the Alleged Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile listed contest valued at $56,700.

Absent since failing as the even-money favorite in the 2000 Guineas last May, when he finished a dull sixth behind Makfi, St Nicholas Abbey, a Montjeu colt, missed his hoped-for return in the Finale Stakes at the Curragh on Oct. 10, with trainer Aidan O’Brien preferring to put him away for the winter.

Winner of the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy as a 2-year-old, St Nicholas Abbey was injured in the run-up to the Epsom Derby last spring, with nagging complaints forcing him to miss the remainder of his 3-year-old season. Jamie Heffernan will ride him for the first time on Sunday, his regular rider, Johnny Murtagh, having parted company with Coolmore at the end of the year. This will be St Nicholas Abbey’s first try beyond a mile.

Among his seven rivals are Grade 1 hurdle winner Unaccompanied and Gift From The Sea, a 3 1/2-length winner of a 1 1/2-mile maiden at Roscommon in his Sept. 27 debut.

*Rostrum, recent winner of the listed Prix Altipan, heads a competitive field of nine at Saint-Cloud on Sunday in the one-mile, Group 3 Prix Edmond Blanc worth $113,000. Trained by Andre Fabre for Godolphin, the Shamardal 4-year-old will face four listed winner from last fall in Pink Gin, Gotlandia, Courchevel and Flash Dance.