Ouija Board and Alexander Goldrun provided racing with an electrifying duel in the Vodafone Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) at Glorious Goodwood on Saturday, with Ouija Board just getting her nose in front at the wire.
Each mare sported an impressive resume coming into the Nassau Stakes, with both Ouija Board and Alexander Goldrun having five Group 1 victories to their credit. Ouija Board was coming off a troubled trip in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I), where she finished fifth to David Junior. Alexander Goldrun was entering the race off a victory in the Audi Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-I) on July 1.
Saturday's race marked only the second time the two classy mares had met. They first faced each other in Dubai, where they were both defeated by Heart's Cry in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I).
Reunited with jockey Frankie Dettori for Saturday's race, Ouija Board was positioned behind the early pacesetter Chelsea Rose. Dettori then sent the Lord Derby homebred to the front a full three furlongs from the finish, a move that brought the huge crowd to its feet.
Alexander Goldrun had been making steady progress along the outside however, and ranged up alongside Ouija Board with two furlongs left. The two mares furiously battled head-to-head to the finish, with neither mare giving an inch. At one point, Alexander Goldrun put her neck in front, only to have Ouija Board stubbornly dig in and fight back. The finish came down to a head bob, with Ouija Board and Frankie Dettori emerging with a dramatic short-head victory.
The John Gosden-trained filly, Nannina, was two lengths back in third.
Winning trainer Ed Dunlop, who was victorious earlier in the week with Court Masterpiece in the Sussex Stakes (Eng-I) told reporters, "Both mares are great mares; they've won a lot of Group Ones between them and I hope everyone enjoyed it. It certainly sounded like they did."
Frankie Dettori, who treated the crowd with his Group 1 trademark 'flying dismount' told reporters after the race, "She's one of the all-time favorite horses in England and full credit to Ed and Lord Derby, who has kept her in training. She's a special filly, one of a kind." He also added, "She's up there with the best I've ridden. The last filly as good as this one was Balanchine, and that was a few years ago."
Ouija Board will now be prepared for a third trip to the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs in November. She won the race in 2004, and was second last year.
Alexander Goldrun is being pointed for a run in the Baileys Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) at Leopardstown in September.