The Fugue (right, pink silks) overtakes Timepiece (left) to win the Nassau Stakes.<br><a target="blank" href="!i=2005841112&k=RRsMqHB">Order This Photo</a>

The Fugue (right, pink silks) overtakes Timepiece (left) to win the Nassau Stakes.
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Trevor Jones

Hughes Times The Fugue Just Right in Nassau

Filly lands first group I win for John Gosden and Andrew Lloyd-Webber at Goodwood.

Benefiting from a perfectly timed ride by Richard Hughes, The Fugue charged past longtime leader Timepiece in the final yards to win the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) by a length at Glorious Goodwood Aug. 4.

It was the first group I victory for the 3-year-old daughter of Dansili, who now has won three of her six career starts for trainer John Gosden and owner Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber. The Fugue also provided Gosden with his sixth group I winner of the season.

Gosden had two entrants in the Nassau. Izzi Top, who had won the Barclays Bank Ireland Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-I) in her last start, was sent off the slight favorite in the race. She was partnered by William Buick, who also was the regular rider of The Fugue.

Sir Henry Cecil and Juddmonte Farm were represented by Timepiece, who was hoping to provide her connections with a fourth straight victory in the race. Champion Midday had won the three previous renewals during her brilliant career.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien sent out Investec Oaks (Eng-I) winner Was, looking to return to the sharp form that saw her win the filly classic in June. Also entered in the Nassau was Nahrain, winner of the 2011 Qatar Prix de l’Opera (Fr-I) and a close second in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).

At the start it was Timepiece that was sent to the front by Tom Queally. They were chased by Nahrain and Was, as Izzi Top tracked them from fourth. Hughes was content to let The Fugue settle toward the back of the pack early on.

Timepiece continued to set a steady pace on the front end as she galloped along easily under Queally. As the field neared the three-furlong marker, Timepiece shifted gears and spurted away from the field as she set sail for the wire.

The Fugue still was toward the back of the pack, with a wall of horses in front of her. Hughes quickly shifted her out to her left and into the clear on the outside, and The Fugue showed a brilliant turn of foot to reel in Timepiece in the final 50 yards to win rather comfortably.

Was held on for third, another 1 ¾ lengths farther back. Final time for the 10-furlong race was 2:09.61 over a course listed as good.

The victory by The Fugue locked up the leading rider title at Goodwood for Hughes, who notched a total of four wins, three seconds, and three thirds. Queally finished second in the standings, and trainer Mark Johnston won the leading trainer title.

After the race Hughes told reporters, “That’s what you call a good spare ride. She’s a beautiful filly and she floats across the ground.

“The more I pulled her back, the more she wanted to go; she was like an elastic band ready to quicken,” Hughes continued. “The ones I had to beat were no more than three lengths in front of me, so I didn’t have to worry.”

Gosden added, “She got stuck in the ground at Royal Ascot, but she showed her class. I thought Richard gave her a typically chilly ride. She’s got very small ballerina feet and she’s a beautiful mover. She’s as smooth as silk and Richard enjoyed riding her.”

The Fugue was bred in England by Lloyd-Webber’s Watership Down Stud. She is the second foal out of the stakes-placed Sadler’s Wells mare Twyla Tharp.