The Nassau Stakes for fillies and mares is the Group 1 highlight of the final day of Glorious Goodwood (3.15pm Saturday).
Aidan O’Brien’s Venus De Milo heads the market at 5/2. This four-year-old daughter of Duke of Marmalade was last seen finishing three lengths second to Thistle Bird in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh at the end of June. Can she provide O’Brien with a third Nassau win? The handicapper thinks so. She is the joint highest rated contender at 112.
Venus De Milo scored in a Group 3 in June, staying on well to take the Munster Oaks at Cork. She beat her stablemate Dazzling by just over a length. She scored three times last season and was runner-up in the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks, finishing four lengths behind John Gosden’s The Fugue in the latter. This filly is thoroughly useful but her form suggests that she may be at her most effective over a mile and a half. She seems likely to fill a place at least but could well lack the finishing speed necessary to prevail here.
Sir Michael Stoute has won the Nassau seven times and sends out Mango Diva (9/2) in a bid to equal Sir Henry Cecil’s record-breaking tally of eight victories. This four-year-old daughter of Holy Roman Emperor was last seen winning a Group 2 on good to firm ground at the Curragh on July 20 over a mile and one furlong. She beat David Wachman’s Lahinch Classics by a short head. In her previous outing she was beaten four lengths into fifth by Thistle Bird in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom.
This filly won a listed race on quick going over this distance last season and scored in a Group 3 at Gowran Park in September. She has never encountered Group 1 company but looks to be progressive and ready for this challenge. She is rated just 4lb lower than the top pair and has to be one for the shortlist.
The French challenger, Alain De Royer-Dupre’s Narniyn, is the second favourite at 4/1. She shares Venus De Milo’s rating having scored in two Group 3s including on her seasonal debut at Longchamp in June. Both those victories were on very soft ground and this will be her first experience of a surface faster than good to soft.
Most recently this four-year-old daughter of Dubawi was found wanting in Group 1 company in the Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud at the end of June. She finished two lengths behind Pascal Bary’s Spiritjim in fourth, flashing her tail for pressure at the end of the race. This will be her first foray outside France and it is difficult to follow her with any confidence – especially as she is an unknown quantity on fast ground.
The other four-year-old to line up is John Gosden’s lightly raced Sultanina (9/2). She made a winning racecourse debut in a maiden at Salisbury in mid May and went on to win the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock next time out, beating her stablemate Freedom’s Light by a short head over a mile and a half. In her latest and only other run she finished a two-lengths second to another stablemate, Pomology, in the Lancashire Oaks.
Gosden is known for his masterful handling of fillies and is bidding for his third consecutive Nassau win. This daughter of New Approach has only run on good to soft and drops back in trip. She is the choice of his stable jockey, William Buick.
Gosden also saddles the three-year-old Eastern Belle, the 14/1 outsider of the field. She posted her first victory last time out in a listed race over a mile and a quarter for fillies at Newbury in June. She started as the 9/4 favourite and beat Marco Botti’s Pelerin by a neck on good to firm. In her previous run in a similar contest over course and distance in May she finished two lengths behind Hughie Morrison’s Marsh Daisy in second on soft ground. Last season she finished third and second in Newbury maidens over seven furlongs.
She is the lowest rated runner at 99 but benefits from the 9lb allowance for three-year-olds. This daughter of Champs Elysees has shown that she can handle the undulations of Goodwood and can perform on quick ground. This will be her first encounter of Group company but it is very unlikely that Gosden would saddle a no-hoper. He sent out Winsili to win this race at 20/1 last year.
A three-year-old with winning form at Goodwood is Ed Dunlop’s (pictured) Amazing Maria (8/1). She ended last season with a victory in the Group 3 Prestige Stakes over seven furlongs here in August having won her maiden on the same course three weeks earlier.
In her only outing this season she finished completely tailed off in the Oaks. Before the race Dunlop had expressed concern that a mile and a half could prove two furlongs too long for her. It looked as if he was right but his yard was under a major cloud at the time. Dunlop is now back in form and, if this daughter of Mastercraftsman is in good health it would not be a surprise to see her defy her odds. Richard Hughes takes the ride.
The field is completed by Richard Hannon’s Lustrous (12/1), another three-year-old daughter of Champs Elysees. She won her maiden first time out as a two-year-old and went on to finish five lengths behind Saeed bin Suroor’s Ihtimal in fourth in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster in September.
This season she was the 20/1 winner of a listed race at York over a mile in May, beating Sir Michael Stoute’s Radiator by a neck. She went on to finish second by half a length to Aidan O’Brien’s Bracelet in the Group 2 Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot over a mile and a half. Most recently she finished eight lengths behind Bracelet in seventh in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh. Both races were on good to firm. She is definitely useful and is rated 1lb higher than Amazing Maria but is her form tailing off? This will be her fifth run of the season.
Nassau Stakes Betting Tips Conclusion
This looks to be a very open race with all seven runners looking to gain their first Group 1 victory. Mango Diva looks the most tempting of the four-year-old contingent at 9/2 but three-year-olds have a much better record in this race. It is a close run thing but Ed Dunlop’s AMAZING MARIA has proven her liking for Goodwood and, as there are reasons to forgive her flop in the Oaks, is our pick as she looks to provide decent value each-way, even with just seven runners, at a best price of 8/1 with Bet365 or BetVictor.
Fiona Derek is our Reality TV and horse racing expert. The only time you won’t find her riding or mucking out a racehorse is when she is watching Reality TV or racing on the box.