The exceptional Minding and Ryan Moore
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse
Minding again proved herself on another level to her opposition as her turn of foot settled matters in the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood this afternoon.
One of the principle races of the Glorious Goodwood meeting got underway with five fillies lining up and Minding, the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks heroine, the undoubted star attraction.
Swiss Range jumped off and went straight into the lead from Queen’s Trust and Minding, with Beautiful Romance fourth and the French runner Jemyel settled in rear.
Swiss Range continued to bowl along in front of Queen’s Trust as the field raced uphill, with Minding nicely settled on the rails in third and then Beautiful Romance.
Taking the top turn there was a moment of concern for supporters of Minding as Ryan Moore tried to move off the rail but found his pathway blocked as she was shut in by James Doyle and Beautiful Romance and Minding was shuffled back to last.
The incident made little difference however and at the two furlong pole, Swiss Range was asked to lengthen but now switched widest of all, Minding turned on the turbos and made powerful progress to hit the front, going from last to first in not too much distance.
Swiss Range had no more to give, but Queen’s Trust was not done with at the furlong pole and Minding’s advantage had not increased at that stage.
However, in the final half a furlong the Aidan O’Brien three year old asserted her class and superiority before perhaps slightly idling late on, beating Queen’s Trust by perhaps a little over a length. Jemayel was a never nearer third, with Swiss Range a long way back in fourth.
This was the sixth career Group 1 for the outstanding Minding, a daughter of Galileo and a first victory in the Nassau Stakes for Ryan Moore.
A delighted O’Brien registering his fourth success of the week, said: “She was very well coming into the race. We were happy with her at home. We knew it was going to be a small field today and that it was going to be tactical. It was rough enough for her but Ryan negotiated it brilliantly and got through it.
“Hopefully, she’ll be fine and OK after the race. I was nervous watching it and a lot of things can happen and race riding can be dangerous at the best of times at the speed they’re going but we had the right outcome today.
“She is a great traveller, she quickens very well, she stays very well. She looks after herself when she gets to the front. She is thriving and she has a great mind. She is an unusual filly who can cruise, relax and quicken. She has always been a big powerful filly but physically she is doing very well. She was big, strong and powerful today.”
O’Brien would not be drawn on future targets for the filly who looks to have plenty of different possibilities. He remarked: “I’m not sure what the lads will do with her now but she can go down plenty of different ways from now. They’ll probably decide in a week or so but she has plenty of options. She is getting a lot of experience. They’re not all big fields she is running in but any field can be rough so she is learning and getting experience all the time.
“The lads will have to make their minds up about where to go next. Obviously, she has the choice of York, Leopardstown, and some of those races. She can have a rest and maybe go to France, so she has a lot of options open to her now.
“She is very versatile. A mile, a mile and a quarter, a mile and a half – it all seems to come alike to her. We were a little bit worried about the small field today. It can get tactical and messy but Ryan handled it great and worked it out great. We are delighted.
“The great thing about her is that she conserves herself now because she has become very professional. She knows when she is asked to go and only does what she has to do. She is very professional, which is marvellous and what you look for in a horse.
“The amazing thing about her is that she is probably ready to go most roads now. Hopefully, she will come home well from today and we will see how she is then but she is ready to go into most slots now.
“She doesn’t have to take on the colts if the lads decide not to but she can step into different company now if she wants. It’s great to have her and it’s great that she doesn’t mind running often. It’s great to be able to see her out so often.
“This is a great filly. She has danced every dance. She was special as a two-year-old, won well in the 2000 Guineas and has kept on progressing. She gets a mile and a quarter very well but when she gets there, she doesn’t do much more so it is difficult to assess her.”
Asked about the possibility of Minding staying in training, O’Brien was very open to the idea. He said: “The lads love their racing and I imagine if she is well there would be a chance. Everyone gets a lot of enjoyment out of her. I think there is a good chance.”
Minding ran out the easy winner of the Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes at the Qatar Goodwood Festival under Ryan Moore this afternoon but the style of the victory wasn’t as impressive as many imagined it would be.
She travelled kindly for her jockey but she had to be wound up to make her challenge and her acceleration wasn’t as instant as it had been in previous victories.
She hit the front two furlongs from home and stayed on strongly to record a one and a quarter length victory from the persistent Queen’s Trust, who ran a fine race in second.
Moore was happy enough with Minding after the race and explained that she was never going to win that well because of the way the race panned out. Moore was presented with the winning prize for the Racing UK Top Jockey award for the meeting following the race, as he now has an unassailable lead over his rivals with seven winners at Goodwood this week.
“Obviously we think the world of her,” said Moore. “Today was never going to be impressive – it was always going to be a messy race. It was a small field and she was drawn in one so it was going to be tactical. I’ve had to get myself out of trouble early and then try and keep it simple.
“It wasn’t really ideal for her. I was in front two out and I know the second filly is quite good as well. When James (Doyle – jockey of Beautiful Romance) came across me, we were going slow and I was three wide and just got pushed back in. I needed the race to develop though.
“As soon as I went wide, I was able to recover. It was always going to be a messy sort of race today and it was just a question of keeping it as simple as we could. She has got an awful lot of class, she only does what she has to do and that’s why she is able to keep winning.
“To keep this filly coming back with as hard a campaign as she has had – she has run in seven Group Ones in a row now and won six of them – she is a very special filly. She’s won them all from a mile to a mile and a half – she always does what we ask of her. It’s always hard to compare horses but it is hard to know how good this filly is because she is doing it over a variety of trips and she only does what she has to do. The ground is actually a bit loose and it’s just on the easy side. I think she would rather it nicer.
“It was always going to be that way though today – it was messy. I’m not sure about the Arc (de Triomphe – run this year at Chantilly) – we’ll see what Aidan says afterwards. It’s a long way away though – we’ll just enjoy today first.”
Queen’s Trust, who was ridden by James McDonald, went down fighting by a length and a quarter, with the same distance back to third-placed Jemayel.
The runner-up is owned and was bred by David and Patricia Thompson’s Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket, and is trained near her birthplace by Sir Michael Stoute. Chris Richardson, a director of Cheveley Park Stud, was not surprised by the performance of three-year-old Queen’s Trust, and said: “She’s run a fantastic race – we’ve always believed in her and Sir Michael always knew she had a huge amount of class, natural ability and talent, and she was unlucky last year in the Oh So Sharp Stakes at Newmarket and again on two occasions this year.
“Last time in the Ribblesdale Stakes [at Royal Ascot] she was an awfully long way back turning for home, but we knew from that she stayed today’s trip and will stay further. The quicker ground may have helped, but she has talent, and there is no one better than Sir Michael with these sort of fillies. He said after the Ribblesdale let’s go for the Nassau – okay, we had Minding to beat but let’s take her on.”
Harry Herbert, representing Al Shaqab Racing, was similarly fulsome in praise of Jemayel, who could not get to the first two, but stayed on honourably for the stable of Jean-Claude Rouget.
Herbert said: “She’s run an absolute blinder. We didn’t come here expecting to beat Minding, but it’s such a prestigious race with such wonderful prize money, and so we came hoping to get second or third and she’s done that. It’s a bonus for us that she’s already won a Group One race this season, and she was quite badly interfered with at a critical time in the Prix de Diane last time out.
“She ran on again because she’s a brave filly, and could have been closer, so Jean-Claude felt this was the right next race for her. We guessed Minding would frighten a few off and a third to her today looks good for her CV. She’s such a game filly and she has proved she’s up to running in this class.”