Cheveley Park Stud's Russian Rhythm made hard work of things, but managed to register her third consecutive group I triumph Saturday, defeating French invader Ana Marie by a neck in the Vodafone Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) at Goodwood.
Ridden by Kieren Fallon for trainer Sir Michael Stoute, the 1,000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes winner wore down Ana Marie in the final furlong with strong urging over the final 50 yards.
Ana Marie, with Richard Hughes aboard, took the lead from pacesetting Zee Zee Top two furlongs from home as Russian Rhythm, who was favored at 4/5, tracked in third.
The 3-year-old daughter of Kingmambo, facing older fillies and mares, lost some ground while switching off the rail for her run to the wire, but managed to grind out the victory.
Zee Zee Top, Russian Rhythm's stablemate with John Murtagh riding, led into the final straight and finished five lengths behind the first two in third, a neck better than Godolphin's Hi Dubai and Frankie Dettori. Hi Dubai hit the front briefly about three furlongs from home but weakened in the final furlong after being shaken off the lead by Ana Marie.
A field of eight competed in the Nassua, which was contested at a mile and a furlong and 192 yards. The winning time on a good to firm course was 2:04.8.
Stoute won the Nassau for the second straight year after prevailing last with Islington.
"She really dug deep," Stoute told The Racing Post
. "She showed she gets the trip but she wants livelier ground. She couldn't get a grip of it. We decided to run as the ground was not as bad as I feared but Kieren said she found it difficult to get a hold of the ground from where she was she was on the false ground.
Added Fallon, "I was following a couple of horses on the rail, keeping to the fresh ground but they didn't really seem to be going anywhere. So I had to switch her wide on to the worst ground. She couldn't get a hold and she wasn't liking it but when Iasked her she really dug deep and found what I knew she would. She has a really big heart."