October 3, 2022

Filly for all seasons Winter favored against elders in Nassau

Winter looks to make it four Group 1 wins in a row in the Nassau (G1) (racingfotos.com)

The third and final Group 1 contest of the Glorious Goodwood meeting, the Nassau (G1) for fillies and mares, was moved from its traditional Saturday slot to Thursday this year, but that should make little difference to dual Guineas winner Winter, who will seek to extend a summer-long trend seen throughout Europe of three-year-olds asserting their superiority over older foes.

A talent and depth gap is a possible factor, but the classic generation have also exploited the generous weight-for-age concessions to great effect so far. A prime example was dual Oaks heroine Enable’s tour de force last weekend against a stellar field in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (G1). Tuesday at Goodwood, Stradivarius upended Big Orange in the newly-upgraded Goodwood Cup (G1), while the three-year-old Roly Poly has turned back the older set in the Falmouth (G1) and Prix Rothschild (G1) in back-to-back starts. Harry Angel’s victory in the July Cup (G1) is another example.

Three of the six fillies and mares in the about 1 1/4-mile Nassau are three-year-olds, with Winter looking to extend her dominance over a distance of ground for the first time. The Aidan O’Brien-trained gray was a surprise 9-1 scorer of the 1000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket, but was a facile, odds-on winner of the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) at The Curragh and Coronation (G1) at Royal Ascot. The latter two came at the expense of the aforementioned Roly Poly, who has now assumed the role of Coolmore’s primary representative in Group 1 miles for females.

The other sophomores are Sobetsu, the Prix Saint-Alary (G1) winner who was well backed in the Epsom Oaks (G1) but did little running in a race contested in a driving rainstorm, and Hydrangea, who edged Winter in the Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial (G3) in April but has since served as a pacemaker for her more acclaimed peer.

So Mi Dar‘s frustratingly brief career has been limited to just five starts. She makes a belated season debut in the Nassau after skipping the Middleton (G2) in May, won by Blond Me, due to soft conditions and then suffering a setback. However, the testing ground in existence at Goodwood on Wednesday, the lack of a recent race, and the eight-pound concession to her younger foes figures to be a tall order.

Queen’s Trust finished second to the brilliant Minding in last year’s Nassau and went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) over Lady Eli. Fourth in the Middleton, she most recently occupied the same slot in the Prince of Wales’s (G1) at Royal Ascot on faster ground behind Highland Reel.

The supporting features on Day 3 of Glorious Goodwood are the Richmond (G2) for two-year-old colts and geldings at six furlongs and the Lillie Langtry (G3) for fillies and mares over 1 3/4 miles. Cardsharp and U S Navy Flag, one-two in the July (G2) at Newmarket last month, renew rivalry in the Richmond, with Coventry (G2) runner-up Headway and Superlative (G2) second Nebo also in the mix.

Group 2 winner Endless Time, runner-up in the Prix Vermeille (G1) and Prix Royal-Oak (G1) last season, will have to concede 11 pounds on the scale to the streaking sophomore Melodic Motion in the Lillie Langtry.

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