Venus Ascending For Nassau Stakes
Prior to last year’s renewal when Winsili won at 20/1, Saturday’s Group 1 Nassau Stakes for fillies and mares was traditionally won at 11/2 or shorter. The question for punters is: will lightning strike twice?
Well, currently heading the market is Ballydoyle’s, Venus De Milo (9/4), who was beaten 3l by Thistle Bird in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh a month ago (1m2f, good to firm). Prior to that effort, Venus De Milo won a Group 3 at Cork (1m4f, good to firm), and
while this step back to a sharp 1m2f may not be ideal, her 4l second to The Fugue in last season’s Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks suggests she has the class to win this prize.
Another classy sort is the French challenger, Narniyn (4/1), who won two Group 3’s over 1m2f/1m3f in the mud, before beaten 2l in a Group 1 (1m4f) a month ago. The worry, however, for this 4yo is the firmer ground, although she obviously has the talent.
One who will handle the conditions is Sir Michael Stoute’s, Mango Diva (4/1), a Group 3 winner here at Goodwood last autumn (1m1f, good). A 1m2f Listed winner prior to that, this 4yo recorded a career best in winning a Group 2 at the Curragh only a fortnight ago (1m1f, good to firm).
John Gosden meanwhile, has two entries, starting with Sultania (9/2), who has won two of her three races to date, including a Group 3 at Haydock in May (1m4f, good to soft). She was then beaten over 2l in a Group 2, again over 1m4f, but as with Narniyn, it remains to be seen how 1m2f on firmer ground will suit.
The aforementioned quartet of 4yo’s will need to see off numerous younger, improving types, especially as 3yo’s hold the best record in the race.
Of the last 18 Nassau Stakes Mile winners…
All 18 winners arrived via a Grade 1 track.
17 returned at 11/2 or shorter.
16 scored during their last two runs.
15 won a Group 1 or 2.
13 ran in the Falmouth, Pretty Polly, Coronation Stakes or an Oaks earlier that season – Peeping Fawn became the second winner of the Irish Oaks to follow-up.
14 made the top three last time.
13 were 3yo’s from 80 runners, with four-year-olds 3-46, and the elders 1-16.
Sir Michael Stoute had three winners, while Aidan O’Brien, John Gosden and Sir Mark Prescott had two each.
With the Classic generation having performed so well down the years, there looks to be some good each-way value around via the likes of Richard Hannon’s, Lustrous (10/1), who was beaten only 1/2l in the Group 2 Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot (1m4f), before beaten 8l in the Irish Oaks. This step back to 1m2f may prove more ideal.
Elsewhere, John Gosden’s second runner, Eastern Belle (14/1) was second in a Listed race over C&D prior to going one better in a similar event last time (1m2f, good to firm) , while Ed Dunlop’s, Amazing Maria (7/1) is on a recovery mission having finished last in the Epsom Oaks.
If normal service in this race is resumed with fancied runners dominating, then Venus De Milo looks to have a lot going for her in a bid to go one better than finishing runner-up in three of her four Group 1 outings.