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O’Brien eyes more glory with Fancy Blue in Qatar Nassau Stakes

28 Jul 2020

First UK runner could also be O'Brien's first UK Group 1 winner

Donnacha O’Brien is relishing having his first runner in Britain at the Qatar Goodwood Festival on Thursday when his Prix de Diane (French Oaks) winner, Fancy Blue, will contest the Qatar Nassau Stakes, a race that forms part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

The 22-year-old, son of multiple Irish champion trainer Aidan, had his first runners in January after retiring from race riding in late November after a short but highly successful career in the saddle.

He’s had less than 50 runners as a trainer but has wasted no time making an impact at the highest level, with the Coolmore-owned Fancy Blue gaining Classic glory at Chantilly after previously finishing runner-up in the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas at The Curragh. The filly was trained by his father last year before switching yards.

He said: “I won’t be going over but hopefully, by that stage, my job will be done and it won’t make too much difference whether I’m there or not.

“Fancy Blue is very genuine, tries hard and takes her work well. She’s a very uncomplicated and talented filly who relaxes and is able to quicken. She gets a mile and a quarter very well and is closely related to High Chaparral (the 2002 Derby winner), so there’s plenty of stamina in her pedigree.”

Fancy Blue prevailed by a short neck from Alpine Star, the easy Coronation Stakes winner, in France, with Peaceful, her conqueror in the Irish 1000 Guineas, another head away in third.

Fancy Blue’s six rivals include the globetrotting Magic Wand, who is in the same ownership and is trained by his O’Brien Sr.

Magic Wand landed a Grade 1 prize in Australia in November and gave a typically good account of herself when fourth to Ghaiyyath in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown this month.

One place behind Magic Wand in the Eclipse was Deirdre, who became only the second Japanese-trained Group 1 winner in Britain when winning last year’s Qatar Nassau Stakes and is back to defend her crown.

Heading the home challenge is the John Gosden-trained Nazeef, who was extending her winning sequence to six when a game neck winner of the Group 1 Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket last time. She had previously won the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot by a head from Agincourt, with Queen Power (third) Lavender’s Blue (seventh) among the supporting cast.


Deirdre, Fancy Blue, Lavendar’s Blue, Magic Wand, Nazeef, One Voice, Queen Power