Nazeef adds lustre to fine day for Crowley

Duke of Cambridge success is another for Gosden.

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Nazeef completed a treble on the opening day of Royal Ascot for jockey Jim Crowley and owner-breeder Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum with a narrow victory in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.

Having already landed the Buckingham Palace Handicap on Motakhayyel and guided the brilliant Battaash to Group One glory in the King’s Stand for his retaining owner, the former champion jockey jumped aboard 100-30 chance Nazeef for this Group Two over the straight mile.

Winner of her previous four starts for John Gosden, the daughter of Invincible Spirit was among the leading contenders and travelled kindly towards the rear of the field for much of the contest.

Just for a moment it appeared big outsider Invitational may have cut loose, but she ultimately weakened fairly quickly and Nazeef charged home under her in-form rider – just getting the better of Agincourt by a head in a driving finish.

Queen Power, the 3-1 joint-favourite along with the bitterly disappointing Jubiloso, was best of the rest in third.

Crowley said: “She was very tough. We thought she’d run a big race having had a race at Kempton.

“She looked beat, but she didn’t think she was and came back and toughed it out. Once she got her head back in front she wasn’t for passing.

“I had a great book of rides and I’d have been disappointed if hadn’t had one down the line. It’s great to kick off with three winners.”

Gosden said: “For Sheikh Hamdan to have a treble on the first day of Ascot, what a great achievement. He puts a lot into it and deserves every bit of it.

“She’s a a very affectionate, genuine and brave filly. She did nothing but improve last year, right through the handicap ranks to going into Listed this year. I warned about the bounce factor. In her case, she won a Listed race at Kempton and has won here. She deserves a little rest now.

“In four weeks, there’s a race called the Falmouth, but I don’t think we’ll be running her back in a hurry. Having won at Group Two level you’d love for her to have a piece of a Group One-placed or something.

“She’s a home-bred filly and it’s important for the stud.”

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