Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes (Group 1)
THERE were questions asked about Nashwa after defeats in the Group 2 Prix Corrida and when dropped in class for last month’s Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle, but the 2022 Prix de Diane and Nassau Stakes winner answered her critics in no uncertain terms when routing her rivals in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket yesterday.
The rain was lashing down as the field got underway for the mile contest, for which Via Sistina (George Boughey/Jamie Spencer) was sent off favourite at even money, with punters piling on the mare who had won the Dahlia Stakes on soft ground here on Guineas weekend.
Unfortunately for them, the recent Pretty Polly winner did not run to her best despite the rain being seen as in her favour, and instead it was 4/1 chance Nashwa (John and Thady Gosden/Hollie Doyle) who relished the conditions on her first start at a mile since landing a Haydock novice on her seasonal return as a three-year-old.
Astral Beau made the early running, pressed by 2022 winner Prosperous Voyage with the market leaders held up to varying degrees. The field began to fan out as the race began in earnest, and just outside the two-furlong marker, all eight runners were virtually in line.
Just inside the final quarter mile, Hollie Doyle chose to go for a run between the leaders, just off the stands’ rail, while Spencer on Via Sistina challenged wider on the track; the gap opening nicely for Nashwa as Prosperous Voyage cracked, and the daughter of Frankel raced into a clear lead at the furlong pole.
Remarquee (Ralph Beckett/Rob Hornby), recently sold to the Emir of Qatar by owner/breeder Julian Richmond-Watson, tried to throw down a challenge, but Nashwa kicked away from her rivals to score by five gaping lengths, with Remarquee comfortably holding second by a length and a half from Via Sistina, who had no real excuses.
“She had a difficult spring, she went over to France (for the Group 2 Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud), and while that helped her by going there, racing and coming back, we knew that she needed racing,” Gosden told Racing TV.
“She was a little too keen from the gates and over raced upsides a filly who had blinkers on the other day (Newcastle Group 3), and paid the price for that - she had the race won and then got caught late by a very nice filly.
“But we knew she was right and I was very concerned by this gap from the Newcastle race all the way to Goodwood. She needs to race and Mr Imad Alsagar was brilliant; I said I’d like to supplement this filly and he said, if you believe that’s right then do it. He’s very trusting.
“The mile is no problem, she’s a powerful filly with speed, and this will set her up nicely for the Nassau, but it just happened to be a lovely Group 1 on the way.
When asked about whether he would consider staying at a mile, Gosden replied: “There is no problem putting her in a race like the QEII at the end of the year but I’d like to stay with the Nassau at the moment, she’s got a lot of tactical speed and tremendous acceleration.
“She won the Nassau last year, it’s a very important race so we’ll go for that.”
PERSIAN Dreamer (Dominic Ffrench Davis/Kevin Stott) gave Amo Racing kingpin Kia Joorabchian a birthday treat when seeing off the hot favourite Star Of Mystery in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes.
With Soprano a late withdrawal, only four went to post, and two of those were trained by Ffrench Davis for Amo. Thanksbutnothanks, carrying the second colours, took the field along before Star Of Mystery, sent off at 1/6, took over, but when Stott asked Persian Dreamer to match strides with that rival she had no trouble doing so, and drew clear in the final furlong to win by a length and three-quarters.
It was the second winner of a brilliant four-timer for Stott after victory aboard the Charlie Johnston-trained Killybegs Warrior in the opening handicap and later on Live Your Dream in the bet365 Trophy and on Good Earth in the closing Sartorial Sprint Handicap.
Persian Dreamer had looked a smart prospect when beating Dorothy Lawrence on debut at Newmarket on softish ground but was behind that filly in the Listed Marygate Stakes at York before a creditable fourth in the Albany Stakes last time, with both defeats coming on good to firm ground.
It appears that she is a better filly with some cut, not surprisingly as she is quite a big filly, and she was fully confirming the ample promise of her debut win here.
On the other hand, this was another setback for Charlie Appleby, who was seeing his second long odds-on favourite sunk at the meeting, and Castle Way’s Bahrain Trophy win on Thursday was Appleby’s first UK pattern winner since Modern Games won the Lockinge Stakes in May.
This was a first Group winner for Persian Dreamer’s sire, Calyx, who was an impressive winner of the Coventry Stakes as a juvenile before his career was blighted by injury, while the winner’s dam is a full-sister to Irish Derby runner-up Tiger Moth, which gives hope that she will keep progressing with time and distance.
Ffrench Davis, a new inductee in the Amo team this year, was also celebrating his first Group winner, and said: “We’ve hit the crossbar a few times, so it’s a relief to win a Group race at last. She’s a smashing filly and has done nothing wrong all year but needs to get her toe in the ground.
“We were praying for rain today and it has come. She was the last horse off the bridle at Ascot [when fourth in the Albany Stakes], she just doesn’t let herself down when the ground is as fast as that. I think she will be a lovely filly going forward. When she won on the Rowley Mile, I always felt that she might go on to be a Guineas filly next year.
“She gives you that sort of a feel. She’s done her bit for the moment, and we will wait for the ground to be right and make sure the race is right and hope she will be going for a soft-ground Group 1 in the autumn.”
THE Group 3 Summer Stakes for fillies and mares at York on Friday saw victory going to 5/4 market leader Swingalong (Karl Burke/Clifford Lee), who hit the front after a furlong and dominated the contest, but she drifted markedly to her right in the final stages, and was all out to hold Royal Aclaim (James Tate/PJ McDonald) by a neck, with Gale Force Maya (Michael Dods/Connor Beasley) beaten only a length in third. Pink Crystal was next home, meaning that winning owner Sheikh Juma Al Maktoum was responsible for first, second and fourth in the contest.
Swingalong flopped in the French 1000 Guineas earlier in the season, but had run very well to be third in both the Fred Darling Stakes and the Commonwealth Cup either side of that disappointment, which almost certainly came too soon after a gruelling run in heavy ground at Newbury – the first three from the Fred Darling all bounced next time before proving the value of the form subsequently.
The winner might have been slightly flattered by her proximity to Shaquille and Little Big Bear in the Commonwealth Cup, and was entitled to score a little more easily on official ratings, while the placed pair help to put the form in context, seeming to run right up to their official ratings of 103 and 102 in defeat.