James Fanshawe, trainer of the Nassau Stakes favourite Audarya, believes that the biggest threat to his five-year-old champion’s winning prospects at Glorious Goodwood on Thursday is the generous weight allowance enjoyed by three-year-olds.
“Older fillies have to give nine pounds to three-year-olds,” Fanshawe said of the 1,984m contest. “It’s difficult to do, as the race’s results show.”
Five of the last six runnings of the Group One event have been won by three-year-olds, who in those years accounted for about 60 per cent of the runners, indicating that in recent renewals they have claimed more than their fair share of Nassau Stakes’ victories.
Yet Fanshawe also believes that Audarya is well qualified to face the challenge.
“She is very tough,” he said. “She has always been outstanding looking, imposing and strong, and a very good mover. She seems really well.”
Last year, Audarya progressed from being a good horse to status as outstanding.
“We’d been looking forward to her four-year-old career but she ran badly in a Listed race before just winning a good handicap at Newcastle,” Fanshawe said.
Having been stepped up to 2,000m, Audarya then won the Group One Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville on soft ground and followed up with a close third on heavy going in the Group One Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp.
Those performances suggested that Audarya may have needed soft ground but a memorable victory at the Breeders’ Cup in Keeneland, where she broke the track record over 19,00m in the Group One Filly & Mare Turf on fast going, revealed her versatility.
“She goes on any ground,” Fanshawe said. “And on her return this year she ran very well when second to Love at Royal Ascot.”
Audarya’s ability to act on a range of contrasting conditions is comforting for connections as it has rained heavily at Goodwood.
She will be a tough opponent for Joan Of Arc, the leading three-year-old contender.
Joan Of Arc, representing Aidan O’Brien’s powerful stable, is suited by soft ground and showed that she stayed this trip when winning a Group One race in France last month over 2,100m.
“Joan Of Arc has been progressing lovely all season and we’ve been looking at this with her for a good while,” O’Brien said.
The other leading contender is the William Jarvis-trained Lady Bowthorpe.
A troubled run arguably cost the five-year-old victory in the Group One Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket last start. Although she has never run beyond 1,800m, Jarvis sees the step up in trip as a positive.
“For me, the key to her chance is the distance,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to stepping her up to 2,000m at Goodwood because I think that will be her trip.”
There are seven races at Glorious Goodwood on Thursday with all of them to be simulcast by the Jockey Club with betting available on the World Pool.