Nashwa will face a very stern challenger for her Qatar Nassau Stakes crown at Goodwood on Thursday in the shape of Blue Rose Cen.
John and Thady Gosden’s filly was a stunning winner of the Group One feature last season, backing up her victory in the French Oaks.
She had been some way below that level of form in her early runs this season, but back down to a mile in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting she returned to her brilliant best.
Hollie Doyle has been an ever present on Nashwa in her 11 starts to date in her role as retained rider for owner Imad Al Sagar and said the Nassau, which is part of the Qipco British Champions Series, has always been her main target.
“We never lost faith with her when she was beaten at Saint-Cloud and Newcastle, although as a Group One filly you don’t like to see them beaten in slightly lesser races,” said Doyle.
“Every time I rode her, I was getting off and saying she’d come on again for the run, and at Newcastle I made the running and she never really relaxed, which is why she got tired late on.
“Winning so well over a mile in the Falmouth opens up new avenues for her later on, as that was definitely her most impressive performance, but the Nassau was always her main target and she’s where we want her now.”
Nashwa will need to bring that Newmarket level of form to the table again, though, as Blue Rose Cen has looked every inch a superstar.
Trained by Christopher Head, she won the Prix Marcel Boussac last term and the French 1000 Guineas and Oaks, all in impressive fashion.
Nashwa also clashes with Joseph O’Brien’s Above The Curve, who beat her in the Prix Corrida in France, and Al Husn, her conqueror in the Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle.
Jack Channon’s Caernarfon and Aidan O’Brien’s Never Ending Story make up the six-runner field.
The John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes sees William Haggas’ historic Royal Ascot winner Desert Hero reappear, having caused great scenes when winning for the King and Queen.
He is one of six in the Group Three, with Artistic Star, Burdett Road, Canberra Legend, Chesspiece and Espionage.
Clive Cox’s Jasour must defy a penalty to follow up his July Stakes success in the Markel Richmond Stakes.
Asadna and Hala Emaraaty represent Alice Haynes, Unquestionable is the Ballydoyle runner while the once-raced Sketch will aim to follow up an impressive debut win for Martyn and Freddie Meade.