Nazeef targeting Group One graduation at Newmarket

Royal Ascot victor tackles Falmouth challenge.

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Nazeef bids to complete her progression through the ranks in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.

The four-year-old filly, trained by John Gosden, has been on a roll since opening her account in a maiden at Newmarket in June 2019.

She has won her last five starts, with victories in Listed and Group Two company on her last two starts.

Nazeef had to knuckle down to collar Agincourt close home and and win by a head in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot last time and connections believe that attitude will stand her in good stead for this big test.

“I was really impressed with her at Ascot and the way she put her head down to go and catch that leader,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

“She’s as tough as she’s talented. Touch wood, she seems to have come out of it really well.

“John (Gosden) was delighted the way she took the race. The obvious next step is a Group One. It’s a tougher grade again.

“She will have to be at her best again to beat Terebellum, Magic Wand and others, but she’s done nothing but improve and she has a thoroughly likeable attitude.

“She is a real professional and it was great to make her a stakes winner this year and now we’ll see if we can go even higher with her.”

One of her main rivals is stablemate Terebellum, who only found Circus Maximus too good when she took on the colts in the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting.

Gosden told “Terebellum showed a great attitude at Royal Ascot and should have every chance of going one better in a fillies’ only race.”

David O’Meara felt Agincourt was under-estimated in the betting when 28-1 at Royal Ascot and feels she will be in the mix again if she can reproduce that effort.

“Agincourt should never have been that price. She was only about three lengths behind the winner when they had met at Kempton a couple of weeks before, and that day she had a wide trip and was giving 3lb,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“She’s a lovely, late-maturing mare and we were not surprised by how well she ran at Ascot. And if she runs as she did there at Newmarket, it will get her involved in the Falmouth Stakes. We’d be hopeful she’d run well.

“She seems pretty adaptable and is also versatile regards the ground. Ascot was on slow side and she handled that fine, and she’s gone on quicker ground at York and elsewhere.”

Under The Stars is the only three-year-old in the field and her trainer James Tate believes the 9lb allowance she gets from the others will be a big help.

She was a Group Three winner as a two-year-old and was not disgraced when sixth in the 1000 Guineas before going on to strike at Listed level.

“She’s a lovely filly. She always runs a good race. She deserves another crack at a Group One,” said Tate.

“She ran a bit free in the Guineas, but I’m sure she will be much more sensible on Friday, so fingers crossed she can get a piece of the action.

“I quite like the three-year-olds taking on older horses at this time. That 9lb allowance might be on the verge of generous. I’m quite happy with that.”

Group One winners Billesdon Brook and One Master make up a fascinating six-runner field, with Magic Wand taken out due to the ground.

Nazeef targeting Group One graduation at Newmarket
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