Seven set for Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes

venusSaturday’s Group One Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes on the fifth and final day of Glorious Goodwood is the mid-summer highlight for Europe’s leading fillies and mares. Run over nearly 10 furlongs (1m 1f 192y), the £200,000 contest boasts an outstanding roll of honour with star performers such as The Fugue, Midday and Ouija Board all scoring since the turn of the century.

 This year’s renewal will see a field of seven go to post, all of whom will be chasing a first Group One success. Sir Michael Stoute is the most successful current trainer with seven triumphs and will be represented by Mango Diva, who was last seen out when taking the Group Two Kilboy Estate Stud Stakes at the Curragh on July 20.

 Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien, who recorded back-to-back successes with Peeping Fawn (2007) and Halfway To Heaven (2008), is relying on last year’s Irish Oaks runner-up Venus De Milo. The daughter of Duke Of Marmalade comes in on the back of a second to Thistle Bird in the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on June 29.

John Gosden has established a £500,000 lead in the trainers’ championship and is seeking a hat-trick in the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes, following on from Winsili (2013) and The Fugue (2012), with the lightly-raced pair of Lancashire Oaks runner-up Sultanina and Newbury Listed scorer Eastern Belle.

International interest comes in the shape of the Aga Khan-owned Narniyn, representing leading French handler Alain de Royer-Dupre. The four-year-old recorded four consecutive victories between 10 and 11 furlongs, including two successes at Group Three level, before coming home fourth on her first start in Group One company in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud over 12 furlongs on June 29.

 Completing the line-up is course scorer Amazing Maria (Ed Dunlop) and the Richard Hannon-trained Lustrous. Amazing Maria captured a maiden and the Group Three Whiteley Clinic Prestige Stakes at Goodwood last season, while Lustrous was second in the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot but only seventh in the Irish Oaks last time out.

 Hannon reported on his website: “Lustrous has plenty on her plate in the Nassau Stakes.

“She ran as well as we could have hoped in the Irish Oaks – she split the Epsom Oaks runner-up (Tarfasha) and Irish 1,000 Guineas winner (Marvellous).”