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Joseph O’Brien is hoping St Nicholas Abbey will handle the expected soft ground when he returns to action at the Curragh on Monday.

O’Brien, 18, enjoyed one of the biggest successes of his riding career so far on the horse, trained by his father, Aidan, in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs in November.

The pair went down by a quarter of a length to Cirrus Des Aigles in the Dubai Sheema Classic in March but the winner has since landed an impressive victory in the Prix Ganay.

Now St Nicholas Abbey bids to go one better down in grade and in distance in the Group Three Mooresbridge Stakes over a mile and a quarter (2000m).

“He ran a blinder in Dubai on his first run of the year and the form has been franked since by the winner in France,” O’Brien junior told At The Races.

“He’s a had a nice break, so hopefully he can run well.

“If the ground is very soft at the Curragh it won’t be ideal for him.

“He’s on his way back and I think he’s still improving. Hopefully he can come back to that very high level.”

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