Nassau Stakes Preview: Young gun Blue to strike for O'Brien

Reigning champion Deirdre will face some tough opposition in this year's Nassau Stakes.
Reigning champion Deirdre will face some tough opposition in this year's Nassau Stakes.

Steve Chambers previews the 2020 Nassau Stakes, which is the feature race on day three of Glorious Goodwood and sees reigning champion Deirdre take her chance against some exciting talents in a wide open renewal.

Japanese sensation Deirdre caused a gargantuan shock in this race 12 months ago, as she produced a blistering performance to land the spoils at 20/1, and the six-year-old mare will look to repeat that display on Wednesday in what looks to be a trappy running of the Group 1 contest. The daughter of Harbinger failed to build on that Nassau win, however, and showed no signs of hitting top form when finishing fifth of seven in the recent Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park.

She must be handed respect following last season's impressive exertions, but while this may be a race that lacks significant strength in depth, she often blows more cold than hot these days, so is hard to fancy, and it's no shock to see her not challenging for favouritism. Champion jockey Oisin Murphy will be in the saddle like he was a year ago, but he's going to face a tough test to try and replicate last year's heroics and the Japanese starlet will need to settle for the minor honours.

Three-year-olds have a spectacular recent record in this race having been victorious six times since 2012, and the classic generation will be spearheaded by the Donnacha O'Brien-trained Fancy Blue, who was last seen edging out Alpine Star in the Prix De Diane at Chantilly. Previously a runner-up in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh, Fancy Blue improved immeasurably for that recent success in France, and she can continue her progression by landing the prize on Thursday.

Fancy Blue will gain a significant weight pull from her older rivals, and that three-year-old allowance could prove a significant factor in proceedings. Currently sitting at the head of the betting at the time of writing, the daughter of Deep Impact has only been seen four times on a racecourse, so is open to significant improvement as this season progresses, and while some of her rivals abilities may have become a little stagnant, she is still on the rise and can bound to a fine victory.

John Gosden knows what it takes to win this race having bagged a hat-trick of wins between 2012 and 2014, and the master handler will saddle Nazeef, who has been in red-hot form and has amassed six wins on the bounce. Like Fancy Blue she is an exciting talent, who is improving and having won the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot in mid-June, she then went on to reign supreme in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month.

Proven to excel at the highest level, Nazeef is a lively adversary to Fancy Blue, but the four-year-old will have to give weight away to her market rival, and that could just prove to be the difference, so while the pair can lock horns in the closing stages, it's the Irish raider that can prevail in that duel.

Just ahead of Deirdre in the Coral-Eclipse was the Aidan O'Brien-trained Magic Wand, who has been a mainstay in top-class races in recent seasons. A Group 2 winner prior to that effort at Sandown shows that she is in decent form, and a return to racing against her own sex should prove crucial in her challenging for victory, but she only has four wins to her name from 23 races, so it's hard to back her in a race of this quality.

Second in the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket earlier in the year, Sir Michael Stoute's Queen Power was unable to get the better of Nazeef when the pair clashed in the Duke Of Cambridge at Royal Ascot, and you have to feel that the Freemason Lodge inmate will be unable to turn that form around.

One Voice and Lavender's Blue complete the seven-strong field, and the former was unable to strike in Group 2 company last time out for Jessica Harrington, and while she was victorious earlier in the season in Group 3 company, this could prove to be a bridge too far. Amanda Perrett's Lavender's Blue was another to feature in the Duke Of Cambridge, but was further behind Nazeef than Queen Power was, and on all form looks to face a real uphill battle in a race that can be dominated by Nazeef and Fancy Blue, with the latter of that duo prevailing in fine style.


Nassau Stakes, Glorious Goodwood, Thursday 30th July - back Fancy Blue at 5/2

Nassau Stakes
Fancy Blue silk

Fancy Blue

Glorious Goodwood 2020
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