The Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes is the feature on Saturday’s Glorious Goodwood card. Open to fillies and mares and worth a staggering £340,260 to the winner, the race is run over a trip of just under a mile and two furlongs.
Established in 1840 the event was originally open to three-year-old fillies. It was later expanded to incorporate fillies and mares at three and over. In 1999 the race attained Group 1 status, and it will come as no surprise to learn that Sir Henry Cecil is the event’s most successful trainer. His total of eight wins is thanks largely to the considerable talent of the wonderful mare Midday.
She was a very special horse, capable of taking on the very best on an international stage. A winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in 2009, she proved exceptional over a mile and a quarter. First or second in 13 of her 18 career races, she captured six Group 1’s and was runner-up to the colts in both the Coronation Cup at Epsom and the Juddmonte International at York. She was pure class.
Back in 2006 another outstanding mare took the Nassau. Ouija Board was similarly adept at taking on the very best on a global scale. Like Midday, she also won the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare, and was also capable of challenging the very best colts. She got within a neck of Dylan Thomas in a thrilling Irish Champion Stakes back in 2006. And at Royal Ascot in the same season she produced arguably her greatest performance when winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
John Gosden has sent out the last three winners of the Nassau including the incredibly gifted The Fugue. Another globe-trotting superstar, she was also tried at the highest level. Particularly devastating on a fast surface, she also won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at the royal meeting, defeating the Arc heroine Treve in the process. She also won an Irish Champion Stakes when defeating Roger Charlton’s colt Al Kazeem.
These brilliant mares highlight just how prestigious a race the Nassau Stakes has become.
This year’s renewal has a strong three-year-old contingent including Legatissimo, who took the 1,000 Guineas before finishing runner-up in the Epsom Oaks. She renews rivalry with Diamondsandrubies, who just got the better of their thrilling tussle in the Pretty Polly Stakes. David Wachman’s filly looked a little unfortunate in running on that occasion, though the same can be said for O’Brien’s charge when they met at Epsom. They look very closely matched and it would come as no surprise to see them neck and neck approaching the finish once again.
The Ballydoyle trainer also has Wedding Vow entered. She took a huge step forward when winning a Group 2 at the Curragh last time. She’d also looked unlucky when hampered at Royal Ascot in the Ribblesdale Stakes back in June. This trip could prove ideal for the Galileo filly.
In his hunt for four in a row Gosden sends Star Of Seville in to battle. She was well fancied at Epsom in the Oaks, but was yet another that incurred a rough passage during the race. She bounced back with a cracking victory in the Group 1 French Oaks at Chantilly. She’s clearly a classy filly and her trainer is having a sensational summer. Her sire Duke Of Marmalade had a double at the meeting yesterday with wins for Big Orange and Simple Verse.
A lack of quality older mares is a slight disappointment, but Saturday’s Nassau has enough outstanding three-year-olds to compensate. It looks a terrific renewal and a fitting showpiece for the final day of a glorious week at Goodwood.