Audarya nears Nassau challenge

James Fanshawe reports Audarya firmly on course to bid for a third Group One victory in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood next week.

The daughter of Wootton Bassett enjoyed a remarkable campaign in 2020 – progressing from a narrow handicap victory on the all-weather at Newcastle to landing top-level honours in both the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville and then the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland.

Audarya also made a highly encouraging return to action when runner-up to Love in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, and Fanshawe has been delighted with her subsequent training.

Speaking from his Pegasus Stables in Newmarket on Monday, he said: “Audarya seems in really good form. We’ve had the Qatar Nassau Stakes in mind for a while, and she’s been training well since Ascot.

Audarya (right) chases home Love at Ascot
Audarya (right) chases home Love at Ascot (David Davies/PA)

“You never quite know how fit they are after such a long gap between races – but she put in a good performance, and we’ve been steering her towards this race ever since Ascot.”

Fanshawe is hopeful Audarya will improve from her Ascot comeback run, adding: “The handicapper kept her rating at 117 after the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, but I felt it was a really good performance.

“I hope she can improve. It shows how far she’s come, given that she started off in a Group One this year. Last year, her first win of the season came on her third start when winning a handicap off 99 on August 2 at Newcastle, so this season already looks very different.”

With Audarya having already proved her versatility in terms of track and ground, Fanshawe feels she has plenty going for her in the Nassau.

But he is nevertheless respectful of the opposition.

Her potential rivals in the £600,000 contest include talented three-year-olds Snow Lantern and Santa Barbara, who will all receive a 9lb weight-for-age-allowance from Fanshawe’s charge.

He said: “She won her Group Ones at Deauville and Keeneland, which are both flat tracks. But she did win a handicap at Goodwood over a mile as a three-year-old when she proved she can handle the track.

“In terms of ground, she has run on everything. It was very testing when she won the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville, and they broke the track record on firm ground when she won the Filly and Mare Turf at Keeneland.

“I was having a look at the record of three-year-olds in the race, and it is very good – five of the last six winners have been three.

“They get 9lbs from the older fillies and mares – which is a lot of weight – but it’s the same as at Ascot, and we go there with a filly who is in good form and hopefully we can overcome that.”

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