The £200,000 Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes is the Group One highlight on the fifth and final day of Glorious Goodwood, Saturday, August 2 and has attracted a star-studded 29 entries. The contest is for fillies and mares and takes place over just shy of ten furlongs.
Heading the entries is the 2012 winner The Fugue (John Gosden). Now a five-year-old, The Fugue has won four Group One contests, including the 2013 Irish Champion Stakes and last month’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, earning close to £2 million in prize money. Her trainer, who saddled last year’s winner Winsili, could also be represented by this season’s Investec Oaks heroine Taghrooda.
Another multiple Group One scorer to feature among the entries is Sky Lantern (Richard Hannon jnr). The four-year-old grey can count the 2013 QIPCO 1,000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes among her successes and endured no luck in running when fifth in the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes last year.
Thistle Bird (Roger Charlton) ran a great race in last year’s renewal, when only finding Winsili a neck too strong. The six-year-old has really blossomed in 2014 and gained a deserved first Group One success last time out in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on June 29.
Dank (Sir Michael Stoute) proved herself among the best in the world last year when taking the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita, USA and finished fifth behind The Fugue last time out at Royal Ascot.
No French-trained contender has ever won the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes but Alain de Royer-Dupre is hoping to change that statistic in 2014 with Narniyn. The four-year-old daughter of Dubawi, who was homebred by her owner the Aga Khan, notched up a sequence of four victories at around 10 furlongs, culminating with the Group Three La Coupe at Longchamp on June 12. Last time out, she stepped up in both class and distance to contest the Group One Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud over 12 furlongs on June 29 when she was fourth, beaten two lengths, behind Spiritjim.
The Chantilly-based trainer commented: “We are definitely considering going over to Goodwood with Narniyn. I think this is the right race for her as it is the right place in the calendar before going on to Deauville for the Prix Jean Romanet.
“I think her run at Saint-Cloud probably came too close to her win at Longchamp but there was not really another race to go for. She is also a better filly at 10 furlongs than at 12 furlongs.”
The vast majority of Narniyn’s victories have come on an easy surface but de Royer-Dupre is confident that better ground will be no problem for the filly.
He continued: “She won a Listed race at Chantilly last year when the ground was good and it was not a problem for her at all. She may actually be a better filly on good ground.”
Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien has made eight entries for the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes including Venus De Milo, runner-up to Thistle Bird at the Curragh, Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Marvellous and Bracelet, successful in the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.
There are 12 Irish-trained entries in total, with Epsom Oaks runner-up Tarfasha (Dermot Weld), My Titania and Stars So Bright (both John Oxx) plus Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup third Euphrasia (Joe Murphy) also engaged.
There is a £17,000 supplementary entry stage for the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes on Monday, July 28.