Qatar Nassau Stakes
|Group 1, Goodwood 15:35
Fillies & Mares, 3yo plus,
1m 1f 197y, Class 1
|Thursday 2nd August 2018
1 Wild Illusion 4/1
2 Urban Fox 3/1
3 Veracious 5/1
6 ran Distances: 2l, shd, 1¼l
Time: 2m 6.22s (slow by 3.22s)
Wild Illusion makes all to win convincingly
Dropping back to a mile and a quarter seemed to suit the Godolphin-owned three-year-old filly, who was taking on older rivals for the first time, and whose two most recent runs had come over a mile and a half. Her fine efforts this season in Group One races made her a deserved winner of this prize, and no less pleasing for her owner, Sheikh Mohammed, was that she is a daughter of his outstanding stallion Dubawi.
Wild Illusion made all the running under William Buick before beating Urban Fox by two lengths, with Veracious a short-head back in third.
Winning trainer Charlie Appleby said: "Wild Illusion has been rock solid all season and was fourth in a Guineas [at Newmarket], second in the Oaks [at Epsom] and second in the Ribblesdale Stakes [at Royal Ascot]. She was coming into the race as well as I have seen her all season, and I felt that dropping back in trip was going to be her forte. Full credit to all the team at home, and to Michel [Rakotoarisoa] who rides her every day at home and looks after her.
"After the Oaks, I was happy going into Ascot but the quicker ground was a concern. Will [Buick] said although the ground has dried up here in the last 24 hours there is a bit of moisture in there, and he said it is not as quick as Ascot.
"Dropping back in trip I felt was going to help and tactically we couldn't see where the pace was going to come from, so I asked William to go out there and do what he is good at. He is great on the front end - we have seen that many times before - and he has given her a lovely tactical ride from the front. I told him to use her stamina from half a mile out to stretch her rivals, as we know she gets the mile and a half well and would have no problems at this trip.
"I am very fortunate to be in this position. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the royal family have supported me very well and have been very kind to me. It is only my job to try and put these winners on the board at this level. The two-year-olds have started coming to hand now and we need them to do well as we build for next year."
Wild Illusion holds entries in the G1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks and the G1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, both races being run over 12 furlongs, but Appleby said no plan would be made at this stage. He said: "We'll let the dust settle, and while she's had a busy campaign she looks like she's thriving - when fillies tell you that you map out a plan to suit.
"This has been a stellar season, there is no doubt about it, and everybody is enjoying it. This is where Godolphin should be and hopefully we can keep the momentum going. The racing public have been very good. Everyone talks about Godolphin and Coolmore. We are great sporting rivals and as a team we are happy to congratulate them and likewise they congratulate us. It is what we enjoy and it is hopefully what racing enjoys."
The Aidan O'Brien-trained Rhododendron (15/8 favourite) ran poorly and finished last of the six runners. O'Brien was absent, but Kevin Buckley, who represents Coolmore Stud in the UK, said: "She ran flat, and that's not like her. She was disappointing, but we'll get her home and check her out. The pace was slow early, but I'm not using that as an excuse, and Ryan [Moore] said she just didn't sparkle."
Qatar Nassau Stakes
(British Champions Series)
£600,000 added, 3yo plus, 1m 1f 197y, Class 1
Going: Good to Firm, Good in places
||Wild Illusion 4/1
||Urban Fox 3/1
|W J Haggas
|Sir Michael Stoute
||Billesdon Brook 15/2
||Wilamina (IRE) 16/1
||Rhododendron (IRE) 15/8f
||R L Moore
|A P O'Brien