Goodwood’s Qatar Nassau Stakes set for a classic line-up

Classic winners from each of the last three seasons feature among 34 top quality entries for the Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes, which takes place on the fifth and final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Legatissimo is a Nassau contender / Picture by Mark Westley
Legatissimo is a Nassau contender / Picture by Mark Westley

The showpiece for fillies and mares aged three and above boasts a guaranteed prize fund of £600,000, triple last year’s total of £200,000, thanks to Qatar’s sponsorship.

Newmarket trainer John Gosden has engaged four fillies as he bids for an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory in the race over nearly 10 furlongs, following on from The Fugue, Winsili and Sultanina.

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The quartet is headed by Star Of Seville who bounced back from a disappointing ninth in the Investec Oaks, Britain’s premier fillies’ Classic at Epsom Downs on June 5, to take the French equivalent, the Prix de Diane, by a length at Chantilly on June 14.

Lady Bamford’s homebred enjoyed an excellent start to the season, annexing a conditions race at Newbury before success in the Group Three Musidora Stakes at York on May 13.

Hugo Lascelles, racing manager for Lady Bamford, said: “Star Of Seville has taken her trip to France very well.

“It was an outstanding decision by John Gosden to run her and she was brilliantly ridden by Frankie (Dettori). He walked us around the track and said to us ‘this is where I’ll be’ and he was right.

“We always thought she was a mile and a quarter filly but once you win the Musidora Stakes you are entitled to take your chance in the English Oaks. I expect that if she hadn’t got bumped and had more of race at Epsom, she would not have gone to France.

“She hasn’t done anything since but we have given her an entry in the Qatar Nassau Stakes and it looks the logical thing to do.”

Other Classic heroines of this year among the entries are QIPCO 1,000 Guineas scorer Legatissimo (David Wachman IRE), Investec Oaks winner Qualify (Aidan O’Brien IRE) and Irish 1,000 Guineas victor Pleascach (Jim Bolger IRE).

Avenir Certain captured two Classics in France last season for trainer Jean Claude-Rouget, while Just The Judge (Charlie Hills) notched up the first of her two Group One triumphs in the 2013 Irish 1,000 Guineas.

Sir Michael Stoute is the most successful current handler in the Qatar Nassau Stakes with seven victories and has entered dual Group One scorer Integral alongside facile Newbury winner Crystal Zvezda, who disappointed in the Oaks.

Aidan O’Brien accounts for seven of the 12 Irish-trained contenders. His entries are headed by Qualify, last year’s Fillies’ Mile winner Together Forever and unbeaten Group Three winner Words.

Other notables from Ireland include Curvy (David Wachman), who completed a four-timer in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last week, while Dermot Weld has entered two fillies headed by the unbeaten Brooch, who was the easy winner of the Group Two Lanwades Stud Stakes at the Curragh on May 23 - her only start of 2015.

The four French hopefuls, as well as Avenir Certain, include the progressive Physiocrate (Henri Francois Devin FR) who justified being supplemented for the Prix de Diane by finishing second. Freddy Head has entered last year’s Group One Prix de l’Opera scorer We Are, while Alain de Royer-Dupre could run Group Two winner Cladocera.

Goodwood Racecourse was delighted to announce in December, 2014, a new 10-year partnership with Qatar, which is the single biggest sponsorship deal ever done for the benefit of British racing.

Commencing in 2015, this makes the Qatar Goodwood Festival one of the most significant and valuable meetings in the world. The highlight, the Qatar Sussex Stakes, is worth £1 million.

The Qatar Goodwood Festival runs for five days from Tuesday, July 28 to Saturday, August 1.

The Qatar Nassau Stakes

Group 1, £600,000 total prize fund. 1m 1f 192y, Qatar Goodwood Festival Saturday, August 1. For three-year-old and upwards, fillies and mares only. Weights: three-year-olds 8st 12lb, four-year-olds and up 9st 7lb. Entries closed June 23, entries revealed June 24 (34 entries), scratchings deadline July 7, six-day confirmation & £40,000 supplementary stage July 27, final declarations 10am, July 30.

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