Four-time Group One winner Snow Fairy is set to return to the Sussex Downs for the £185,000 Group One Nassau Stakes, highlight of the final day of Glorious Goodwood, Saturday, July 30.
The Ed Dunlop-trained four-year-old features among a stellar entry 26 for the mile and a quarter contest, the fifth leg in the Filly & Mare category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Snow Fairy kick-started a wonderful 2010 campaign with a ready victory over the course and distance in the Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes before going on to Classic glory in both the Investec Oaks and the Irish Oaks.
She subsequently enjoyed further success at the highest level in the Far East, easily winning the Grade One Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup at Kyoto, Japan, and ending her year with a thrilling triumph in the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin.
Snow Fairy started the current campaign by coming home fourth behind So You Think and Workforce in the tremendous renewal of Group One Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park on July 2 and is set to try and give Dunlop a third Nassau Stakes success following the brilliant pair of Lailani (2001) and Ouija Board (2006).
Patrick Cooper, racing manager to owner Cristina Patino, reported: “The plan is for Snow Fairy to head to Goodwood for the Nassau Stakes. We are delighted with how she has come out of her run in the Coral-Eclipse and we thought that she ran very well there, especially considering she had been off for seven months.
“If she hadn’t have won the Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood last year, then we wouldn’t have gone for the Oaks, so it would be nice to return to Goodwood. That was really the start of her season last term and hopefully we can kick start this campaign at the same course.
“We will probably keep her against her own sex in Europe for the time being and the plan is to head East with her once again later in the year.”
Midday has made the Nassau Stakes her own over the past two seasons and the Sir Henry Cecil-trained five-year-old may bid to become the first mare to win the race on three occasions and give her handler a record eighth success in the contest.
Khalid Abdulla’s homebred, who has also triumphed in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, the Yorkshire Oaks and the Prix Vermeille, has filled the runner-up spot in Group One company on her two latest starts, including when finding St Nicholas Abbey a length too strong in the Coronation Cup at Epsom Downs on June 3.
This year’s Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Misty For Me inflicted the latest defeat on Midday as she romped to a stunning six-length success in the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on June 25. She could be joined at Goodwood by stable companion Look At Me, who took fourth in the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, as trainer Aidan O’Brien looks for a third Nassau Stakes following on from Peeping Fawn (2007) and Halfway To Heaven (2008).
The Classic generation may be further represented by Blue Bunting, who gave trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni a first British Classic victory in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, while Godolphin’s other principal handler Saeed bin Suroor, successful with Zahrat Dubai in the 1999 Nassau Stakes, could run the consistent pair of Antara and Sajjhaa.
Jim Bolger sent over Park Express (1986) and Alexander Goldrun (2005) to Nassau Stakes glory and the County Carlow handler may this year be represented by another tough and consistent performer in the shape of Banimpire, who recorded a fourth Pattern victory of the year when grinding out a short-head verdict in the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Sir Michael Stoute is the only current handler to match Sir Henry Cecil’s record in the Nassau Stakes and he could also bid for a record eighth victory with dual Group Two scorer Crystal Capella and Nouriya, while John Gosden, successful in 1997 with Ryafan, has entered Group Three Musidora Stakes winner Joviality.
Other notable contenders include two French challengers, the Group One Prix de l’Opera heroine Lily Of The Valley, representing Jean-Claude Rouget, and the Robert Collet-trained Glorious Sight, who has been placed in both the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and the Prix de Diane this season.
Nahrain maintained her unbeaten record when winning a Listed contest at Sandown last weekend for first-season handler Roger Varian, while the Brian Meehan-trained Theyskens’ Theory may return to Goodwood, having readily landed the Group Three Chichester Observer Prestige Stakes at the course in August.
Glorious Goodwood takes place over five days, starting on Tuesday, July 26.