July 13, 2024

Breeders’ Cup on agenda for Nashwa after last-to-first conquest of Nassau

Hollie Doyle celebrates Nashwa's victory in the Nassau (Photo by PA Media)

The hot favorite off her victory in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) (G1), Nashwa readily passed her first test versus older distaffers in Thursday’s Nassau (G1) at Glorious Goodwood. Now the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) is in her sights, according to owner/breeder Imad al Sagar.

“Our target will be the Prix de l’Opera (G1) on Arc Day and then the Breeders’ Cup for the Filly & Mare Turf,” al Sagar confirmed.

The John and Thady Gosden trainee is regarded highly enough to have an entry in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) itself, along with the Juddmonte International (G1) and Irish Champion (G1). But connections don’t want to get ahead of themselves with the progressive sophomore.

“I don’t want to rush taking on colts this year,” the elder Gosden said. “Maybe next year.”

“She has had a busy season,” al Sagar noted, “and we don’t want to overdo it.”

The daughter of Frankel has been on a steep upward curve since her 6 1/2-length novice romp at Haydock April 23. Nashwa next tackled a listed stakes, justifying odds-on favoritism in the Fillies’ Trial at Newbury and propelling herself to Epsom. Although likely outstayed at the 1 1/2-mile trip, Nashwa finished an honorable third to Tuesday and Emily Upjohn, and she’s excelled since cutting back in distance.

Regular rider Hollie Doyle employed forward tactics in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly, capitalizing on her inside draw in post 2. At Goodwood, however, Nashwa landed on the outside of the field in post 9. Doyle accordingly reverted to her former off-the-pace style.

Aidan O’Brien’s Concert Hall, sporting first-time cheekpieces following her fourth in the Belmont Oaks (G1), flashed speed in the initial strides. But the older Dreamloper, who’d beaten males in the Prix d’Ispahan (G1) two back, was intent on the lead. A keen Fonteyn attended, while Concert Hall dropped into a stalking position.

Down the straight, Dreamloper had her hands full trying to respond to Fonteyn, but Nashwa was angling to the outside on the bridle. Gathering inexorable momentum, the favorite overpowered the field in last-to-first fashion. Nashwa, much the best by 1 3/4 lengths, clocked 2:05.77 for about 1 1/4 miles on the good-to-firm course.

Longshot Aristia stayed on for second, a half-length up on the late-rallying third Lilac Road. Fonteyn ultimately wore down Dreamloper. Concluding the order of finish were One for Bobby, Rogue Millennium, and the tailed-off Concert Hall. Ville de Grace was a gate scratch after refusing to load.  

“We were drawn nine,” Gosden recapped, “and we didn’t want to get caught on the outside with daylight. We have relaxed in last and what they’ve done is suddenly pull the pace up. If you look at the fractions, they did two 14-second furlongs in the middle, which is as slow as you can go.

“Coming from last made it tough on her as they are quickening down the hill, but Nashwa has got the class and, when the ground leveled off, she was happier. She is versatile to do that from off the pace. I think next time we might have to put a pacemaker in.”

Doyle credited Gosden for the tactics, but the gifted jockey often conjures the best from her mounts.

“I rode her aggressively in France because we had a good draw and I wanted to hold my position,” Doyle said. “Today, in between her work from her previous run, she now knows what she is doing, so I didn’t want to light her up and ride her from a pace angle. Mr. Gosden told me to ride her that way today.

“I came down the hill with a double handful. She travels very well, but she takes a while to hit top gear. I was conscious about keeping her balanced down the hill. This is her perfect trip. She has a high cruising speed and sees it out very well. She is push-button and you can ride her anywhere, which is really nice.”

Nashwa’s resume now reads 5-3-0-2, her only losses coming in her debut as a juvenile and in the Oaks. Considering that her dam, the Group 1-placed stakes heroine Princess Loulou, peaked as an older campaigner, she has plenty of upside. That Pivotal mare was runner-up in the 2014 Prix Jean Romanet (G1) and closed her career by capturing a listed stakes at Doncaster in 2015.

“Nashwa is a homebred,” al Sagar said, “and I must admit that I am very emotional when it comes to her. She is my first classic homebred and I am very proud of her. It is significant as this is the future broodmare for Blue Diamond Stud. The important part is that I own the family. Her dam Princess Loulou is now in foal to Frankel, carrying a filly which makes her a full sister to Nashwa.”