2018 Glorious Goodwood: Nassau Stakes Odds and Betting Preview
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The five day meeting at the West Sussex track gets underway on Tuesday, with some top class equine sport to accompany the wonderful array of fashion alongside the sumptuous surroundings, that makes the Glorious Goodwood festival one of the leading highlights in the racing calendar.
We could have selected several races to cover for this meeting, but Thursday’s Group 1 Nassau Stakes looks to be highly competitive and informative for the future, with ten fillies and mares currently standing their ground before the final declarations are announced. The numbers may diminish before the race commences at 15:35 BST, but the ten furlongs contest is unlikely to lack for talent.
The Nassau Stakes was inaugurated back in 1840, and was restricted at that time for just three year old fillies. Up until 1900, the Nassau was raced over one mile, but following the beginning of the 20th century, it was changed to one and a half miles, until it was changed again to its current distance of ten furlongs (1m2f) back in 1911.
From 1975, the Nassau was opened for fillies and mares aged four years and upwards, but just eleven winners aged over three have been successful since that change. Group 1 status was granted for the Nassau in 1999, and it is one of the key middle distance races for the females in the British racing calendar.
Aidan O’Brien has saddled the last two winners of the Nassau Stakes, (Minding 2016) and (Winter 2017), can he make it three consecutives? Here below we will look at some of the leading contenders for Thursday’s feature race.
Haggas’ Hopes Rest with Fox
Several bookmakers have currently priced up their books for the Nassau Stakes with different favourites for this important Group 1, but Urban Fox, trained by William Haggas is the shortest, best-priced horse in the race at 10/3 with Boylesports.
Urban Fox was tried over ten furlongs for the first time at the Curragh on her most recent start, in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes. With two furlongs to go, the race was comfortably put to bed under jockey Danny Tudhope, with Oaks heroine Forever Together left trailing in her wake.
A similar performance here could well be good enough; the noises coming from Haggas himself suggest the horse is primed to perform to the same level, but the expected juice in the ground could be a significant negative. Urban Fox has not won any race in his career other than on a good to firm surface.
Frankel Progeny to Strike with Veracious
Sir Michael Stoute has his stable in rude health following the 1-2 result in last Saturday’s King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, and his emerging filly, Veracious could improve further for the step up in trip at the Goodwood festival.
Veracious can be backed the top price of 7/2 with Boylesports, and the three year old daughter of Frankel could take advantage of the eight pound weight allowance for age here. Frankie Dettori is already booked for the ride on Veracious, who must put inexperience aside for her to prevail.
With just three runs in her fledgling career, Veracious was last seen at Royal Ascot finishing in an admirable third place behind Alpha Centauri in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at 14/1. Dettori took the ride that day also, and it is assumed that the trainer / jockey combination have come to the conclusion that the step up from one mile to ten furlongs will suit.
Will Rhododendron bloom at Goodwood?
Aidan O’Brien is chasing a hat trick of recent wins in the Nassau Stakes, and Rhododendron looks to be his leading chance of the three potential runners he has before the final declarations are announced for the race. Magical is more likely to run rather than Hydrangea, who contested the King George at Ascot last Saturday, but both could yet miss the race.
The 2017 Oaks runner-up is a best-priced 4/1 with several bookmakers, including William Hill and Ladbrokes. The four year old filly has become somewhat of an enigma in racing terms, with attempts by her trainer at various distances to try and ascertain her best trip.
The progeny of Galileo has appeared over eight furlongs in her last two starts, with victory in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, but must put a poor Royal Ascot run behind her with the step up in trip. Everyone knows that Aidan O’Brien is THE master trainer and can prepare any horse for the right race, but Rhododendron has too many imponderables for my liking.
Others of Note
Godolphin has Wild Illusion as their intended runner for the Nassau Stakes, and Charlie Appleby’s inmate is an 11/2 chance with Betfred, and 888Sport to regain the winning thread. Wild Illusion was the market leader for the Oaks back in June, but ultimately struggled to stay the twelve furlongs distance.
Appleby maintained his faith in Wild Illusion over a mile-and-a-half last time out, but again was left wanting in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at the Royal meeting. Wild Illusion could really find his niche with the drop in distance and rates as a solid each way bet at the prices.
Billesdon Brook shocked the world of horse racing by claiming the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket back in April at odds of 66/1. Her next start was less enamouring by finishing fourth – behind Veracious – at Ascot’s Coronation Stakes.
At the current price of 10/1 with 188BET and William Hill, Richard Hannon’s three year old could once again strike following her stepping up in distance, but she will be needed to be played late to score.
Firstly, this article was compiled before the final declarations were announced, so the runners and prices could be somewhat compromised before the actual race takes place. However, a chance is taken on Wild Illusion to show her best form at Goodwood and take this prize following the drop back in distance.
Urban Fox rates as the most obvious danger in the race due to her hugely impressive Pretty Polly win, but Wild Illusion could have enough to cover the threat with her weight allowance.
- Wild Illusion to win the Nassau Stakes at 11/2 with Betfred.