Diamonds ready to sparkle in Nassau
Published 31/07/2015 | 14:07
Connections of Diamondsandrubies are expecting a stern examination when she lines up in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained filly scored a first victory at Group One level when holding 1000 Guineas winner Legatissimo by a short head in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh last month.
She had previously finished fourth in the Oaks at Epsom, two places behind Legatissimo, but she endured a troubled passage that day.
Legatissimo will be in opposition once again, along with Prix de Diane victor Star Of Seville, and Richard Henry, part owner and breeder of Diamondsandrubies, knows it will be a tough test.
He said: "Aidan tells me Diamondsandrubies has been in great form since her Pretty Polly Stakes success.
"It looks a particularly strong renewal with a pair of Classic winners in the mix. Goodwood is a pretty unique track but we're hopeful she'll handle it."
Legatissimo's trainer David Wachman is pleased enough with his filly's condition but following some ill fortune on her latest start at the Curragh, he is hoping for a little luck this time.
He said: "She seems well and we're happy enough with her. If she can stay in one piece we'd have a chance, I hope."
Star Of Seville is one of three representatives for John Gosden, along with Bright Approach and Jazzi Top, with the Derby-winning trainer bidding for a fourth successive win in the race following The Fugue (2012), Winsili (2013) and Sultanina (2014).
Star Of Seville finished well down the field in the Oaks at Epsom but bounced back to form when creating a minor surprise at Chantilly in the French equivalent.
Jazzi Top was four places ahead of Star Of Seville on her latest start in the Oaks, while the four-year-old Bright Approach will be having her first outing since beating only one home in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot last year. The latter is the mount of Richard Hughes, who retires at the end of the meeting.
Gosden said: "Star Of Seville obviously ran a great race in the Prix de Diane. We are aware this a high-quality race against some proper fillies, though.
"This is Jazzi Top's trip, as it is for Star Of Seville, and Jazzi will be a better filly than she was in the Oaks. She's really strengthend up and could be in the shake-up.
"Bright Approach has been off for a long time but she's been working well.
"I was keen to start her back on some nice ground and get her out there. I'm delighted Hughesie can ride her in what will be his last Group One."
Star Of Seville's jockey Frankie Dettori said: " We have got the trip right with Star Of Seville now. She is a mile-and-a-quarter filly as she showed in the Musidora and the Diane - the mile and a half of the Oaks was too far.
"The Goodwood race is just what she wants."
Bright Approach is one of two older fillies in the race, with Alain de Royer-Dupre's Cladocera also flying the flag for the four-year-old team.
Cladocera was a dual Group Two winner at Meydan during the winter and was last seen finishing third behind Amazing Maria in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Her trainer said: "Cladocera ran well to finish third at Royal Ascot and that form has been boosted by the winner going on to land the Falmouth Stakes.
"She had three races in Dubai over the winter and we needed to give her time to recover when she got back home, so she needed the run at Ascot and should be able to improve on that form."
Cladocera won over nine furlongs but will be stepping up to a mile and a quarter for the first time in a race in which her handler finished second last year.
Royer-Dupre added: "This will be her first run at a mile and a quarter. She is normally a miler but she did well in Dubai over nine furlongs so we have decided to try her over this longer trip.
"Goodwood is a special track and I could not be sure how well she will handle it, but she is a very mature filly and an easy ride.
"She is on the same level as Narniyn, who ran well to be second last year despite hitting the front too soon.
"We have had to change her jockey as Christophe Soumillon has other commitments in France. But Antoine Hamelin knows her well and got some experience of the track when riding Jehannedarc to finish second in the Lillie Langtry Stakes for me three years ago."
Luca Cumani sends out Oaks third Lady Of Dubai, who claimed the Height Of Fashion Stakes at the track earlier in the campaign - a fact her handler counts as a big plus point.
He said: "She was fine after her run in the Oaks. She is a course and distance winner at Goodwood which counts for a lot.
"There were not many places we could go after the Oaks and we decided that we would bring her back from a mile and a half for her next race to go for this.
"We will see how she gets on in the Nassau before deciding on the Yorkshire Oaks."