The £600,000 Qatar Nassau Stakes, the Group One highlight on the final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, Saturday, July 30, has attracted a high-class entry of 37.
Staged over just short of 10 furlongs, the Qatar Nassau Stakes is Europe’s richest race for fillies and mares, thanks to the 10-year Qatar sponsorship agreement which commenced last year.
A plethora of Group One winners feature among the 2016 entries, headed by Minding (Aidan O’Brien), who is already a dual top-level achiever this year after winning the mile British Classic, the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, and scoring over half a mile further in the other British fillies’ Classic, the Investec Oaks, at Epsom Downs where she saw off the challenge of Architecture.
Minding is one of 12 entries for Ireland’s champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien, with Breeders’ Cup Turf heroine Found, recent Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes scorer Even Songand Group One Prix Marcel Boussac scorer Ballydoyle also featuring prominently. O’Brien is chasing a third Qatar Nassau Stakes success following on from Peeping Fawn (2007) and Halfway To Heaven (2008).
Two entries hail from France, both owned by Al Shaqab Racing and trained by the in-form Jean Claude Rouget. They are Qemah, successful in the mile Group One Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 17, and Jemayel, who took the 10-furlong Group One Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville in May before suffering trouble in running when ninth in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) at Chantilly on June 19.
Harry Herbert, racing manager for Al Shaqab Racing, commented: “Qemah has come out of Royal Ascot very well.”
“There have been no plans as yet about where she will run next. I suspect Jean Claude will keep her to a mile but she is in the Qatar Nassau Stakes just so we have options. A race like the Falmouth might be more likely if it does not come too soon.”
“I think Jemayel would have been closer in the Prix de Diane as it was a rough race. The start did not go to plan really and then she was quite badly squeezed just as she was making a nice move. It was a satisfactory run under the circumstances.”
“She may just be off the very top level but she is a Group One winner and there are not too many options for her. I would guess that she is quite a likely runner at Goodwood.”
Newmarket-based John Gosden has made the Qatar Nassau Stakes his own in recent seasons, landing the valuable prize in three of the past four years with The Fugue (2012), Winsili (2013) and Sultanina (2014).
His eight entries this year include Furia Cruzada, a multiple Grade One winner in South America who was runner-up to Usherette in the Group Two Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot last week, plus Journey, Jazzi Top and Nathra who have been placed at Group One level.
Another possible Gosden representative is Persuasive, victorious in the Listed Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot last week.
At Sandown on Saturday Time Test will go very close in the Coral-Eclipse.
Yours In Sport!