Thursday, July 14, 2011
ABDULLA & CECIL AIMING FOR A THIRD SUCCESSIVE NASSAU STAKES VICTORY AT GLORIOUS GOODWOOD
After taking the spoils for the two previous years, owner Khalid Abdulla and trainer Sir Henry Cecil are set to bid for a third consecutive victory in the £185,000 Nassau Stakes, with dual winner Midday and Principal Role under consideration for the Group One highlight of the final day of Glorious Goodwood, Saturday, July 30.
The 10-furlong contest is the fifth leg in the Filly & Mare category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Midday followed up a decisive success in 2009 with another authoritative display on the Sussex Downs last year and the five-year-old could bid for an historic third win in the contest this term and give her trainer a record eighth Nassau Stakes victory.
On her two most recent starts, Midday has taken second behind St Nicholas Abbey in the Group One Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom Downs on June 3 and filled the same position when finding Misty For Me six lengths too strong in the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, Ireland, on June 25.
Abdulla and Cecil may also be represented by progressive four-year-old Principal Role, who could step up to Group One company following a comfortable victory in a Newcastle Listed contest over 10 furlongs on June 24.
The owner and trainer partnership have already struck in the Filly & Mare category of the QIPCO British Champions Series with Timepiece, who also graduated from Listed honours to Group One success when capturing the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket last week.
Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to the owner, revealed: “Hopefully, either Midday or Principal Role will go to Goodwood for the Nassau Stakes.
“If Workforce goes for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot next weekend, then Midday will go to Goodwood for the Nassau Stakes and if Workforce doesn’t go to Ascot, then Midday will probably head there instead.
“Midday was beaten by a better horse on the day in Ireland, there’s no question about that, but her run left us scratching our heads a little bit. Something just wasn’t quite right - that’s not to take anything away from Misty For Me - but Midday has been in good form since.
“Principal Role would be a possibility for the Nassau Stakes if Midday went for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. She won nicely at Newcastle and is improving. They are not kept in training as a four-year-old without good reason and she is an interesting filly.”
A star-studded entry of 26 fillies and mares for the Nassau Stakes also includes four-time Group/Grade One heroine Snow Fairy, who started last season with a convincing victory at Goodwood in the Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes
The Ed Dunlop-trained four-year-old subsequently went on to success in the English and Irish Oaks, the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup at Kyoto, Japan, before ending her year with a thrilling triumph in the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin.
Misty For Me also boasts a quartet of Group One victories for her trainer Aidan O’Brien, having annexed the Moyglare Stud Stakes, the Prix Marcel Boussac and the Irish 1,000 Guineas as well as her triumph over Midday in the Pretty Polly Stakes.
The three-year-old generation may be further represented by Blue Bunting, who gave trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni a first British Classic victory in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, while Godolphin’s other principal handler Saeed bin Suroor could run the consistent pair of Antara and Sajjhaa.
Sir Michael Stoute is the only current handler to match Sir Henry Cecil’s record in the Nassau Stakes and he could also bid for a record eighth victory with three-time Group Two winner Crystal Capella and Nouriya.
Other notable contenders include two potential French challengers, the Group One Prix de l’Opera heroine Lily Of The Valley, representing Jean-Claude Rouget, and the Robert Collet-trained Glorious Sight, who has been placed in both the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and the Prix de Diane this season.
GOING LATEST - TRACK IN GREAT CONDITION
Seamus Buckley, Goodwood’s clerk of the course, said: “We haven’t had to do any watering since the end of May, which is a great relief, because there has been 148 millimetres of rain since then.
“The track is in great condition, with a lovely covering of grass, and has recovered well from the racing at our earlier meetings.
“We are getting very excited about the prospect five superb days of racing during Glorious Goodwood.
“There is rain forecast this weekend and we would hope to start the meeting on Tuesday, July 26 with good or good to firm going. We wish to have the QIPCO Sussex Stakes, on the second day, run on what I can call perfect Flat racing ground.
“We will have the usual rail movements during the meeting plus we can water if necessary.”
Glorious Goodwood takes place at Britain’s most beautiful racecourse over five days, starting on Tuesday, July 26.