Nashwa wants to reach the top of the Opera Prize
John and Thady Gosden’s Nashwa will attempt to score a hat-trick in Group 1 of the Prix de l’Opéra Longines at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.
The filly, who is owned and bred by Imad Al Sagar’s Blue Diamond Stud, finished third at the Oaks when she didn’t see the trip, but tasted classic success in the Prix de Diane shortly after. .
Victory in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood followed and the Prix de l’Opéra was immediately named as a possible target and that plan has now come to fruition, with Nashwa drawing 13 of 16 for Group One from 10 stadia.
“That was always the plan after Goodwood. We looked at various options, but the original and natural plan was to compete in the Prix de l’Opéra and we are very close to doing that now,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing director for Al Sagar.
“She’s had a pretty straightforward preparation all round, she seems to be in good shape and she’s continued to develop, which has been nice.
“She had some positive works, her last works were very decent. She’s obviously drawn at 13, which isn’t ideal, but we have to live with that.
Conditions in Paris are mild and more rain is expected, but Grimthorpe noted the ability of Nashwa’s mother, Princess Loulou, and father, the great Frankel, to win on the proving ground.
“His dad and mum went to tough ground, so we have to at least hope,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone wants to race in extreme terrain, but I think they should have it in their DNA to be able to act on it.”
Jessica Harrington’s Trevaunance will represent Moyglare Stud in the race, bringing with her solid French form, having won the Prix de Psyche and the Prix de la Nonette in her last two starts – both run at Deauville.
“She’s done us proud this year and Jessie has done a great job with her,” said Fiona Craig of the stud.
“Every time she travels she seems to be winning. It’s probably a bit more complicated than going to Deauville, but I think she’s going there with a fighting chance and certainly a chance both ways.
Aga Khan’s Ebaiyra, trained by Francis-Henri Graffard, recently finished third in two Group 1s – the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis and the Prix Jean Romanet.
Georges Rimaud, the Aga Khan Race Director, said: “She is very consistent and she has had a great season, but at the same time it is frustrating for us that she has not yet won her Group 1.
“It was about time she did, because she got closer a few times. She ran well in Romanet and in Germany so we’ll try again, it’s probably her last race before she gives up.
Shartash, trained by Johnny Murtagh, is also entered for the Aga Khan in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère.
Previously campaigning at six stadiums, the son of Invincible Spirit won the Railway Stakes from next Middle Park striker Blackbeard in June before finishing third in two groups.
Rimaud said: “He won a group two out of six furlongs, beating Blackbeard, but was then beaten in the Phoenix Stakes when it looked like six furlongs was too short.
“He ran over seven in the National Stakes and finished third. Soft ground will not be a disadvantage. Johnny says the horse is working well and we are very happy with him.
“It’s satisfying to have a horse at this time of year leaving for a race like the Lagadère, he deserves to go. All of his performances suggest this is the right race.
Aidan O’Brien’s Antarctica finished second in Middle Park and is gaining momentum at ParisLongchamp, where he will be partnered with Ryan Moore.
Moore also has a shot at the Prix Marcel Boussac with O’Brien’s Never Ending Story.
There is a strong British presence in the Prix de la Forêt, with Ralph Beckett’s Kinross entering the race in fine form having won the Doncaster Park Stakes on his last start and York City the previous time.
The colt was fourth last year from ninth stall and pulled the same spot again this time around.
“Kinross is doing very well. Obviously the race went very well for him,” said the coach.
“There is a little juice in the ground. He slipped back a bit too much last year – just let’s hope it doesn’t happen again on Sunday.
In the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood, Kinross was beaten by Andrew Balding’s Sandrine, who is also heading to France after finishing third behind Kinross at York.
“She won the Lennox earlier in the year, but she has a bit to find with Kinross on the York City race,” the trainer said of the filly.
“A slower pitch won’t be a problem for her and she seems in great shape, even though she’s been on the road for a while. We hope she can keep her form and have a good race.
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