Midday takes on six rivals as she bids to become the first mare to win three renewals of the £185,000 Group One Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes (3.10pm), highlight of the fifth and final day of Glorious Goodwood, Saturday, July 30.
Khalid Abdulla’s five-year-old has posted a pair of comfortable victories in the 10-furlong contest over the past two years and trainer Sir Henry Cecil and jockey Tom Queally head into Saturday’s race in scintillating form following the stunning success of fellow Abdulla homebred Frankel in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on Wednesday.
Five-time Group One heroine Midday followed up a cosy success in the 2009 renewal of the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes with another ultimately comfortable victory last year and heads into this year’s race, the fifth Filly & Mare contest in the QIPCO British Champions Series, after taking second in Group One company on her two most recent starts.
She kicked off the campaign when going down by a length to St Nicholas Abbey in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on June 3 but failed to build on that promising effort when finding Misty For Me six lengths too strong in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on June 25.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Misty For Me (Seamie Heffernan) has proven herself to be one the leading three-year-old fillies this season and the four-time Group One winner will be aiming to strike another blow for the Classic generation following the recent victories of Nathaniel in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Frankel in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes.
In a true clash of the ages, four-year-old Snow Fairy (Frankie Dettori) will be representing the very best of last year’s Classic form, having triumphed in both the English and Irish Oaks.
Ed Dunlop’s charge started last season with a ready victory in the Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood and ended a progressive campaign with a pair of victories at the highest level in the Far East. She kicked of the current term when finishing fourth in the Group One Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on July 2.
Patrick Cooper, racing manager to owner Cristina Patino, reported today: “Snow Fairy worked very well the other day and Ed has been very pleased with her. We were delighted with her run at Sandown and it was just nice to see her on the racecourse after seven months off.
“She started last season at Goodwood, so the course holds no fears and we are hopeful that she can get her season going on Saturday. She needs fast ground and so the forecast conditions should be perfect for her.
“It was unfortunate that she didn’t get to take on Midday and Misty For Me in the Pretty Polly Stakes. The heavens opened the day before and we know she doesn’t like soft ground, so we decided to give it a miss.
“It should be a cracking race on Saturday. Midday has obviously won the last two renewals and Misty For Me has won four Group One races herself so she must be quite good.
“There are so many good horses in training at the moment, whether they are three-year-olds or the older horses, and it’s highlighted by races like the King George, the Sussex Stakes and the Nassau Stakes. It’s the time of year when the season gets very exciting.”
Sir Michael Stoute saddles Crystal Capella (Ryan Moore), who beat the colts on her latest start in the Group Two Princess of Wales’s sportingbet.com Stakes at Newmarket on July 7, while connections of Midday will also be represented by Newcastle Listed scorer Principal Role (Richard Hughes). The field is completed by the Richard Fahey-trained Barefoot Lady (Paul Hanagan) and Field Day (Kieren Fallon), from the stable of Brian Meehan.
Goodwood also hosts one of the most competitive sprint handicaps of the year, the £100,000 Blue Square Stewards’ Cup (3.45pm) and a maximum field of 28 for the six-furlong contest includes top-weight and favourite Hoof It from Mick Easterby’s Yorkshire Stables and the James Fanshawe-trained Mac’s Power. At today’s draw ceremony, Hoof It’s connections chose stall 18, while his main rival will emerge from one.
For the first time this year, Saturday’s card commences with the consolation race for horses that fail to make the final line-up for the Blue Square Stewards’ Cup, the 26-strong £30,000 Bluesquare.com Stewards’ Sprint Handicap (2.05pm).
Verdant, successful in the UBS Handicap at Glorious Goodwood last year, is among a field of 14 for the £40,000 Toyo Tires Summer Handicap (2.35pm) over a mile and three quarters, while Newmarket runner-up Sports Section will be bidding to go one place better in the seven-furlong £17,500 Overtones EBF ‘Schiaparelli’ Maiden Stakes (4.20pm), which has attracted 16 runners.
The action is completed by the six-furlong £15,000 Best Western Horses Help Heroes Nursery Handicap (4.55pm, 16 runners) and the £15,000 Telegraph Apprentice Handicap (5.35pm, 18 runners) over nine furlongs.