Can Fireglow Dazzle at Goodwood?

Johnston's filly Fireglow

Johnston's filly Fireglow

Fireglow is set to light up the 888Sport Prestige Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday. Mark Johnston’s two-year-old filly has shown a high level of form in her four starts and was last seen chasing home Blue Bayou in the Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket.

The Prestige is a seven furlong Group 3 event for juvenile fillies and was first run in 1974. The race has gone the way of a number of classy types in its time. Nannina was successful in 2005 for trainer John Gosden and went on to win the Group 1 Fillies Mile at Newmarket a month later.

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She competed at the highest level as a three-year-old, taking the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and following that with a second in the Falmouth Stakes. She then ran a cracker to finish a close third in the Nassau behind ‘super filly’ Ouija Board. She followed that performance with a fourth place finish in a thrilling Matron Stakes at Leopardstown. Her four-year-old campaign was no less impressive, thrashing a strong field in the Group 2 Windsor Forest Stakes, before finishing her career with a runners-up spot in the Sun Chariot at Newmarket.

In 2013 the Ed Dunlop trained Amazing Maria took the Prestige Stakes. Her three-year-old campaign may have proved disappointing, but we now know just how talented she is. Since arriving in the care of David O’Meara she has gone from strength to strength winning the Windsor Forest, Falmouth and Prix Rothschild in the space of two months. The powerful daughter of Mastercraftsman is now arguably the best filly in training. She is certainly dominant at a mile.

Last season’s Prestige Stakes went to Mick Channon and his filly Malabar. She also proved to be extremely talented, following her Goodwood success with a prominent finish in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at The Curragh. She started this season with a fourth place finish in the 1,000 Guineas behind Legatissimo and returned to Goodwood last month to win the Group 3 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes in impressive fashion.

Such a roll of honour demonstrates the pedigree of the Prestige Stakes, a race appropriately named. Along with Fireglow, the race has attracted a competitive looking field. Channon goes for back to back victories with his recent Newbury winner Epsom Icon. She defeated a Mark Johnston filly Dessertoflife in that listed event; form that ties in closely with that of Fireglow.

The Richard Hannon trained Light Up Our World is a daughter of this summer’s standout sire Zoffany, and though this appears quite a step-up for the filly, her debut defeat to Marenko now looks to be decent form. Marenko went on to chase home Fireglow and Blue Bayou at Newmarket before finishing a neck second in a Group 3 in Deauville last weekend.

Hannon also saddles Belvoir Bay, a filly who won at the track in July. She looks progressive and is stepping up to seven furlongs for the first time. Hugo Palmer has had a sensational season and runs Hawksmoor in this. She was behind Fireglow in that race at Newmarket, but wasn’t beaten far. A daughter of Azamour out of a Danehill Dancer mare, she may well find conditions to her liking, and could run a huge race.

It’s yet another intriguing renewal, with the potential of revealing a seriously talented winner. This summer’s juvenile fillies look an impressive group, and the form of the likes of Illuminate and Besharah has worked out again and again. Fireglow brings the strongest form to the race, but this Prestige Stakes will take some winning.

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