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The 2020 Qatar Nassau Stakes: Andy Stephens' guide to all the runners

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Wed 29 Jul 2020

Andy Stephens correctly predicted the one-two in the Qatar Sussex Stakes on Wednesday - the Exacta paid £21.50 - and seeks to repeat the trick on Thursday.

The Qatar Nassau Stakes was first run 180 years ago and up until 1975 was exclusively for three-year-old fillies.

It has still been very much a race for the Classic generation, with older horses winning the mile and a quarter feature just a dozen times since that time. However, the odds are tilted in their favour on this occasion with five of the seven runners being aged four or more.

Deirdre made history last year when becoming the first Japanese-trained mare to win the race and it’s good to see her back to defend her crown. She’s become a familiar sight on the Warren Hill gallops, in Newmarket, over the past year and has quite a fan club at Headquarters.

There are three Irish-trained challengers and the home-trained trio all bumped into each other over a mile in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Here’s a guide to likely tactics, all the runners and where they might finish.

How it might be run:

Our experts looks back at last year's renewal when the pace was overly strong

None of the seven runners are habitual front-runners, but that will not have escaped the attention of Coolmore, who have two strong contenders in Magic Wand and Fancy Blue.

Both of these fillies stay ten furlongs well and it will not be in their interest for the fractions to be slow, not least that one of the pair’s biggest rivals – Nazeef – is unproven over the trip.

Magic Wand has made the running in the past and, given all her experience and uncomplicated nature, it will be a surprise if Frankie Dettori is not encouraged to make plenty of use of her.

I doubt Fancy Blue will sit too far off her, given she was never far away when winning the French Oaks last time and promises to stay further. Nazeef has a good turn of foot and, up in trip, will again almost certainly be played late. Deirdre is also usually delivered from off the pace.

1 DEIRDRE

Trainer: Mitsuru Hashidax. Official rating: 114. Timeform rating: 127. Odds: 9-2

The Japanese mare was a decisive winner last year, for all that her victory owed a little to Oisin Murphy giving her a patient ride up the rail while the market leaders went off too fast. She subsequently proved that win was no fluke when running well in the Irish and English versions of the Champion Stakes, behind Magical, and she also ran creditably when fifth in the Coral-Eclipse last time after a four-month absence. The drying ground will suit and a bold defence is on the cards.

PREDICTION: THIRD

2 LAVENDER’S BLUE

Trainer: Amanda Perrett. Official rating: 109. Timeform rating: 118. Odds: 22-1

Enjoy our montage of Nassau Stakes since 2009

Has looked classy on occasions in lesser company and showed she was up to competing with the best when fourth in the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket in October. But what to make of her Duke of Cambridge Stakes run at Royal Ascot? She looked a big threat two out when still on the bridle but the response was very limited when her jockey pushed the button and she trailed home well-held behind Nazeef. Perhaps she needed the run but, even if back on song, she needs a big personal best.

PREDICTION: SEVENTH

3 MAGIC WAND

Trainer: Aidan O'Brien. Official rating: 116. Timeform rating: 128. Odds: 11-2

Seamie Heffernan told us more about Magic Wand after she won at the Curragh in June

She’s been a busy bee since the spring of 2018, running 25 times and clocking up plenty of air miles. The drying ground will help her and you could argue she’s never run better than when beaten under four lengths behind Ghaiyyath and Enable in the Coral-Eclipse last time, although she was rather ridden to pick up some pieces on that occasion. Eighteen previous runs in Group One company have yielded one success, in the shallower waters of Australia, and she may again find one or two too strong.

PREDICTION: SECOND

4 NAZEEF

Trainer: John Gosden. Official rating: 116. Timeform rating: 127. Odds: 11-4

Nazeef stays on a roll in the Falmouth Stakes

Again showed a most willing attitude when extending her winning sequence to six with victory in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket last time. Before that, she had also dug deep to land the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot. It’s difficult to know exactly what her ceiling might be, but she's had quite a busy time and the extra couple of furlongs raise a significant question mark. Her relaxed manner augurs well but her pedigree suggests a mile might be her optimum, for all that her useful half-sister Euginio was fully effective over ten furlongs.

PREDICTION: FIFTH

5 QUEEN POWER

Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute. Official rating: 107. Timeform rating: 119. Odds: 10-1

Queen Power had Star Catcher in third when winning at Newbury last year

She looked a Classic prospect when beating Lavender's Blue at Newbury in May of last year but it was the third horse, Star Catcher, who went on to scale the heights. Queen Power has been lightly raced since and she's not really gone on with connections seemingly also uncertain as to what trip she wants. She seemed to find a mile on the sharp side when third to Nazeef at Royal Ascot, having previously been brushed aside by Terebellum in the Dahlia Stakes over Thursday’s distance. The suspicion remains she has a bigger performance in her, but others are more convincing.

PREDICTION: SIXTH

6 FANCY BLUE

Trainer: Donnacha O'Brien. Official rating: 114. Timeform rating: 122p. Odds: 5-2

Fancy Blue caught the eye in the Guineas and turned the tables on the winner in the French Oaks

Regally bred and has quickly developed into a high-class performer. Won each of her two starts as a juvenile, when trained by Aidan O’Brien, and confirmed the promise of her return, when runner-up to Peaceful in the Irish 1000 Guineas, when prevailing in the French Oaks last time. There was little to choose between the first four home but the form has a solid look with Alpine Star, the runner-up, previously running away with the Coronation Stakes, and Peaceful being third. Strong stayer at the trip and she’s open to more improvement.

PREDICTION: FIRST

7 ONE VOICE

Trainer: Jessica Harrington. Official rating: 106. Timeform rating: 116p. Odds: 16-1

One Voice has nowhere to go at the Curragh

You get plenty of hard-luck stories at Goodwood but they can happen anywhere, as One Voice’s backers discovered when she finished fifth in a Group Two contest at the Curragh last time. Her jockey explored a route up the rail from three out and simply got no room to manoeuvre. Would she have won with a clear run? Very possibly. Her overall profile is progressive and the trip suits but this represents by far her stiffest test, reflected by her being the lowest-rated runner in the line-up.

PREDICTION: FOURTH

Full predicted finishing order:

1st: Fancy Blue

2nd: Magic Wand

3rd: Deirdre

4th: One Voice

5th: Nazeef

6th: Queen Power

7th: Lavender's Blue

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