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The Qatar Nassau Stakes

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History

Only professional historians will know why the Nassau Stakes, one of the seven fillies & mares races in the QIPCO British Champions Series, is so called (you’ll need to go back to 1840 to find out – and being Dutch may help). Horseracing aficionados, however, will be well aware of the Group 1 race’s more recent history. The key elements? A chestnut mare called Midday, a jockey called Tom Queally and a trainer called Sir Henry Cecil.

That combination won in 2009, then returned for an action replay in 2010 and completed the hat-trick in 2011 – the first time a mare has triumphed in the race on three occasions. Two other horses – Roussalka in 1975-6 and Ruby Tiger in 1991-2 – have recorded Nassau Stakes doubles. Meanwhile owner Prince Khalid Abdulla has won the race four times in the last five years following Winsili’s victory in 2013 while John Gosden has now won it three times in a row.

The Nassau Stakes, open to fillies and mares aged three years or older, is the feature race on the final day of the Glorious Goodwood meeting.

Current leading jockey: Kieren Fallon, 3 wins (2002, 2003, 2004); Tom Queally, 3 wins (2009, 2010, 2011)
Current leading trainer:  Sir Michael Stoute, 6 wins (1984, 1990, 1994, 2002-4)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Deirdre shows she is not just big in Japan

Deirdre came from way off the pace to win the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and record a historic success for Japanese trainer Mitsuru Hashida.

Settled way off the pace by Oisin Murphy as Mehdaayih and Hermosa set a stiff gallop, the five-year-old stayed on powerfully to notch a famous overseas win.

It was the first time a Japanese-trained winner had won a QIPCO British Champions Series race – and only the second time a horse from Japan had won a British Group 1. Agnes World was the other in the July Cup of 2000.

Brought over to run at Royal Ascot, the Harbinger mare was undone by soft ground in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and her connections took the brave decision to keep her in Britain for a while longer.

Although an unconsidered 20-1 chance, Deirdre had form against some of the best horses in the world, such as Almond Eye and Glorious Forever, and eventually ran out a clear-cut winner.

Ryan Moore was the first to send out distress signals on Aidan O’Brien’s dual Guineas winner Hermosa, who dropped away with three furlongs to run.

But at that stage Frankie Dettori appeared to have stolen a march on the John Gosden-trained Mehdaayih, who looked set to provide the red-hot trainer and jockey combination with another Group One triumph.

Deep inside the final furlong, though, Dettori’s mount had no answer to Deirdre, who won going away by a length and a quarter.

Murphy said: “I’m just glad they have brought a horse here and it has performed, because I’ve been saying since I’ve come back from Japan how they regard their horses and it is fantastic they have won a top-level Group One here.

“She is already a Group One winner, but it is nice to do it in England. I can’t tell you how pleased and thrilled I am for everyone connected.

“I had a lovely draw beside Mehdaayih and Ryan was just on my outside. I would have liked to have sat a bit closer, but I couldn’t go (the pace).

“There was no pressure on me, so I rode how I felt from instinct. Thankfully it paid off pretty well and I was able to use that fresh strip of ground.

“You can see she is an absolute queen, she is a big, masculine type of a horse and I’m not surprised she was able to carry the 60 kilos which is more than what she is used to.

“Hopefully we will see more of them coming now. She is by Harbinger, who we know very well – he was a world champion and this is a huge result.

“This is massive, I’m so pleased. I looked at her price, but I convinced myself she had a super chance as she worked brilliantly the other morning.”

Seiko Hashida Yoshimura, racing manager to owner Toji Morita, said: “This was a very big challenge here. We all could see she was trying hard at Royal Ascot despite the heavy rain.

“We were just hoping to see the best from her and that was today on this glorious sunny day. Everything was good.

“We are always believing in her, but the other horses in there were great, too. We had some good luck and all the people supporting us as well.

“We were not really sure if Deirdre would like the course, as it is undulating. I’m not sure what the plan is, we have to discuss that.

“She is a daughter of Harbinger and that is the reason we came to Ascot for the first time, but I think many Japanese people will be more interested in racing here and hopefully we can have a good influence on racing.”

Gosden said: “He (Dettori) looked like he got it, but the filly had been in front a long time and got a bit lonely. A nice filly came out of the pack and snuck up the rail and beat us.

“She has never been in front in her life, so it was a super performance. Frankie was happy to freshen her up and go for the Opera.

“If we are going to be beaten, I’m delighted to be beaten by the Japanese. I did (see her as a threat), as I’ve seen her training at Newmarket and I know from her form she is a real tough racemare and a real pro.

“They are the most charming people who own her. You have had two big results today for British racing in the charity race and in this.”

Results

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The Course

You may not have visited this racecourse, just north of Chichester in West Sussex, but you’ll surely have heard of ‘Glorious Goodwood’, the venue’s five-day summer festival.

The festival forms a central part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, featuring three contrasting races at the end of July – the Qatar Sussex Stakes for Europe’s top milers, the Qatar Goodwood Cup for long-distance ‘stayers’ and the Qatar Nassau Stakes for a select field of fillies.

Horseracing began at Goodwood in 1802, courtesy of the third Duke of Richmond. Not that he was a huge fan. His main aim was to keep the officers of the Sussex Militia entertained.

Today’s course has a complex layout, with a six-furlong straight feeding into a tight right-handed loop catering for longer-distance races. The venue is overlooked by Trundle Iron Age hill fort, acting as an informal grandstand and offering fine views across the whole course.

Find out about racing at Goodwood

Getting there

Goodwood,
Chichester
PO18 0PS

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