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Magical Minding faces four rivals in Nassau Stakes

28 Jul 2016

Aidan O’Brien hails attributes of outstanding filly ahead of £600,000 feature at Goodwood

Minding

Aidan O’Brien has hailed the resilience and versatility of Minding ahead of the outstanding filly taking on four rivals in the £600,000 Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday (3.10pm), which forms part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

The daughter of Galileo has already won five Group One races, making her the most successful filly that the Ballydoyle maestro has trained. This season she has scooped the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, Investec Oaks at Epsom and Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, while also finishing a head runner-up in the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas.

 Minding has won at the highest level over four different distances and O’Brien admitted: “I’m not sure what her best distance is. We know that she has the pace for the top league at a mile and we know she gets a mile and a half. She’s also comfortable in between at a mile and quarter, which is lovely. It’s very unusual to be so adaptable. She’s progressing with every run and is a very strong traveller.”

O’Brien was non-committal when asked if he has trained a better filly in the past two decades but said: “She’s great, isn’t she? I’m not sure if we’ve had a more resilient filly and we’ve been delighted with her this season. We are very happy with her going into Saturday but not looked beyond it. It’s one race at a time, let’s see how she comes out of the race.”

Minding has raced only on good ground or softer this year, and won only one of her three races on good to firm going as a two-year-old. Will the likely fast ground on the Sussex Downs be a chink in her armour? “I don’t think so,” said O’Brien, who is seeking a third success in the Nassau after previous victories with Peeping Fawn (2007) and Halfway To Heaven (2008). “All anybody wants is safe ground and Seamus [Buckley, the clerk of the course] will keep it safe. That’s what everyone wants for every horse.”

Sir Michael Stoute first landed the Nassau in 1977, with Triple First, and has since won it on six more occasions with Optimistic Lass (1984), Kartajana (1990), Hawajiss (1994), Islington (2002), Russian Rhythm (2003) and Favourable Terms (2004). Should he win with Queen’s Trust, who finished fourth in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, he will match the record eight victories in the ten-furlong race that the late Sir Henry Cecil achieved.

“Minding is a machine, but hopefully we will get some [black] type,” Sir Michael said. “She hasn’t had luck in running on both of her starts this year but is a nice, progressive filly.”

Beautiful Romance is officially the second highest rated runner in the field (she is rated 112, with Minding on 120) after finishing third to Simple Verse in the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot last October and then winning the Betfred Middleton Stakes at York on her reappearance. However, last time she was well held behind Dartmouth in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“Minding is a top-class filly and is going to be tough to beat but Beautiful Romance is a Group 2 winner and is in good form,” Bin Suroor said. “It’s the right trip, the right race and the track will be no problem. We’ll see how she goes.”

Swiss Range and Jemayel finished eighth and ninth, respectively, in a rough renewal of the Prix De Diane Longines (French Oaks) on soft going at Chantilly last month.

The former had previously won the Listed Tweenhills Pretty Polly Stakes in good style at Newmarket, while the latter is trained by leading French trainer Jean-Claude Rouget and is owned by Al Shaqab Racing.