Gosden Wins Nassau for Third Straight Year

Gosden Wins Nassau for Third Straight Year
Photo: Trevor Jones
Sultanina comes home strong to take the Nassau Stakes.
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It's been an outstanding week for John Gosden, whose filly Sultanina furnished the trainer a third group I win when unleashing a late burst of speed in the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes Aug. 2, the final day of the Glorious Goodwood meeting.
William Buick urged the 4-year-old New Approach filly past French shipper and front-runner Narniyn in final 75 yards to win the 1 1/4-mile event going away by 1 1/2 lengths. 
The victory, achieved in 2:06.58 on good to firm turf, marked the third consecutive victory and fourth overall in the race for Gosden following Winsili last year and The Fugue in 2012 as well as Ryafan in 1997. It was also Gosden's third group I in a week after Taghrooda in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes July 26 at Ascot and Kingman in the QIPCO Sussex (Eng-I) July 30 at Goodwood.
“It’s the sort of thing you don’t forget when you’re an old guy in your rocking chair,” Gosden said of his stellar week. "A good pal of mine Dick Mandella won [four]  grade I's in an afternoon at the Breeders' Cup, so I am way behind him."
Unraced at 2 and 3, Sultanina has a 3-1-0 record from four career starts. She won her debut May 15 at Salisbury and came into the Nassau off runner-up effort behind stablemate Pomology in the July 5 Lancashire Oaks (Eng-II). She landed the May 31 Pinnacle Stakes (Eng-III) at Haydock before that.
Venus de Milo led early with Joseph O'Brien and was joined by Lustrous after a half-mile. Christophe Soumillon appeared to make the winning move when recent Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I) fourth Narniyn charged up the inside rail to lead a furlong out. Sultanina, always prominent in the six-horse field, moved up to second a quarter-mile out proved too strong for Narniyn in the closing stages.
"I think the track is too firm for Narniyn," Alain de Royer-Dupre said. "She changed her legs many times and didn't really handle the downhill. She did well to finish second, but her balance was not correct."
Venus de Milo finished three lengths back in third, followed by Eastern Belle, Lustrous, and Mango Diva.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Venus de Milo, said she ran well but would prefer going longer. He indicated she will race next in the Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I).
Sultanina is not likely to race next year and will probably start next in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day Oct. 18 at Ascot.
"I'd like to give her a break and bring a fresh filly to the autumn," Gosden said. "The owner-breeder said to me after she won at Salisbury that she was the best filly she had ever bred.
"I did wonder a bit at the time, but she's been proved right. Her stamina kicked in today in the final furlong and she has beaten a tough nut of a filly who brought good solid form to the table."
Sultanina was bred by Philippa Cooper's Normandie Stud. Her dam is the stakes-winning Zafonic mare Soft Centre, a half sister to U.S. grade III winner Dalvina.

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