O'Brien optimistic as Hermosa puts stamina to the test

Dual Guineas winner up in trip for Nassau Stakes

  • Wednesday 31 July
  • News
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Aidan O’Brien hopes English and Irish 1000 Guineas heroine Hermosa will relish her step up in trip for the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

The daughter of Galileo, one of O’Brien’s two representatives in Thursday’s Group One contest alongside Just Wonderful, will bid to return to winning ways as she moves up to a mile and a quarter for the first time.

Having tasted Classic glory in her first two starts of the season, Hermosa saw her bid for a Group One hat-trick come up short when filling the runner-up spot in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out.

O’Brien said: “She is in good form. We were nearly stepping her up last time for the French Oaks, but we decided (instead) to give her one more go at a mile at Ascot.

“It will be interesting going up in trip. You never know if it will bring out more improvement until you do it, but we always thought there was a chance she would get further.

“She got beaten at Ascot last time, but she had two tough races before and we were happy with her run. I hope she stays, and we are looking forward to seeing her run.”

John Gosden believes the drop back in trip should not inconvenience Mehdaayih, who put here defeat in the Oaks at Epsom behind her with victory in a Group Two contest at Saint-Cloud on her most recent outing.

Gosden said: “She was very unlucky in the Oaks and got knocked over not once but three times, and she quickened up very well in France.

“We are coming back in trip, but she is very versatile, and we think she will run a nice race. She got the mile and a half very well, but she has won over a mile and a quarter (and) is not a filly that lacks speed.

“Who knows if she will handle Goodwood – that is something we will only find out after the race.”

Francis-Henri Graffard warns his French Oaks winner Channel will have to take another step forward if she is to overcome a wide draw and complete a four-timer.

He said: “She is in top shape, and I think she has improved physically since her last run. She is coming into the race in good form.

“She will like the 10-furlong trip, and I don’t think the undulations of the track will be a problem. She has an outside draw – which might not be ideal to get a good position – but she is very easy to ride.

“I said to the owner if we are third in a race like that it is a very good result. It is against older fillies, which will not be easy, but she is an Oaks winner now. She will need to improve a bit to be competitive in the Nassau, though.”

Connections of Sun Maiden, one of two runners in the race for Sir Michael Stoute alongside Rawdaa, are optimistic she can leave her previous effort at the track behind her and continue her resurgence in form.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Sun Maiden’s owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “She is progressing pretty nicely, with the way she won at Nottingham (and) then the way she won at Newcastle .

“She did well to win at Newcastle in a slightly slowly-run race on quite a deep surface. She has pleased Sir Michael since, and everything has been very straightforward.

“I’m not blaming the track for her bad run here last year (in the Gordon Stakes) – it was just too bad to be true. She is coming into the race in great form.”

William Haggas expects the switch back to a mile and a quarter to be more suitable for Maqsad on her first start since finishing down the field in the Oaks.

He said: “She took a long time to get over the Oaks, but she is back in good form now.

“I think it may have been more than the trip in the Oaks, because she travelled well (but) then stopped very quickly. Dropping back in trip should suit her.

“She was a very impressive winner over the trip earlier in the year. But that was just a Listed race, and this is a strong Group One. I don’t see the track being an issue.”

The field is completed by the Mark Johnston-trained Nyaleti and Japanese raider Deirdre, from the yard of Mitsuru Hashida.

O'Brien optimistic as Hermosa puts stamina to the test
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