01 October 2022

Nashwa bids to hit high note in Prix de l’Opera

01 October 2022

John and Thady Gosden’s Nashwa will bid for a Group One hat-trick in the Prix de l’Opera Longines at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.

The filly, who is owned and bred by Imad Al Sagar’s Blue Diamond Stud, finished third in the Oaks when not seeing out the trip, but tasted Classic success in the Prix de Diane shortly afterwards.

Victory in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood followed and the Prix de l’Opera was immediately named as a possible target and that plan has now come to fruition, with Nashwa drawn 13 of 16 for the 10-furlong Group One.

“It was always the plan after Goodwood. We looked at various options but the original and natural plan was the go to the Prix de l’Opera and we’re on the cusp of that now,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Al Sagar.

“She’s had a pretty straightforward preparation in every way, she seems to be in good form and she’s continued to develop, which has been pleasing.

“She’s had a few positive bits of work, her last few bits of work were very decent. She’s obviously drawn 13 which is not ideal but we have to live with that.”

Conditions in Paris are soft and more rain is due, but Grimthorpe noted the ability of both Nashwa’s dam, Princess Loulou, and sire, the great Frankel, to win on testing ground.

“Both her father and her mother went on heavy ground, so we have to be at least hopeful,” he said.

“I don’t think anybody wants to race on extreme ground, but I think she should have it in her 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 on her last two starts – both of which were run at Deauville.

“She’s done us proud this year and Jessie has done a great job with her,” said the stud’s Fiona Craig.

“Every time she travels, she seems to win. It’s probably a little bit more complicated than going to Deauville, but I think she goes in there with a fighting chance and certainly an each-way chance.”

The Aga Khan’s Ebaiyra, trained by Francis-Henri Graffard has finished third in two Group Ones recently – both the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis and the Prix Jean Romanet.

Georges Rimaud, the Aga Khan’s racing manager, said: “She’s very consistent and she has had a great season, but at the same time it has been frustrating for us that she hasn’t won her Group One yet.

“It is about time that she did, as she has come close a few times. She has run well in the Romanet and in Germany so we’ll try again, it is probably her last race before she retires.”

Also entered for the Aga Khan is the Johnny Murtagh-trained Shartash in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.

Previously campaigned over six furlongs, the son of Invincible Spirit won the Railway Stakes from subsequent Middle Park scorer Blackbeard, in June before finishing third in two Group Ones.

Rimaud said: “He won a Group Two over six furlongs, beating Blackbeard, but was then beaten in the Phoenix Stakes when it looked as if 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’re very happy with him.

“It is satisfying to have a horse at this time of year going for a race like the Lagadere, he deserves to go. All his performances suggest this is the right race.”

Aidan O’Brien’s The Antarctic was second in the Middle Park and steps up in trip at ParisLongchamp, where he will be partnered by Ryan Moore.

Moore also has a chance in the Prix Marcel Boussac with O’Brien’s Never Ending Story.

There is a strong British presence in the Prix de la Foret, with Ralph Beckett’s Kinross coming into the race in great form having won Doncaster’s Park Stakes on his last start and the City Of York the time before.

The colt was fourth last year from stall nine and has drawn the same berth again this time around.

“Kinross is very well. Obviously the race has set up very well for him,” the trainer said.

“There is a bit of juice in the ground. He got a little bit too far back last year – let’s just 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 headed to France after going on to finish third behind Kinross at York.

“She won the Lennox earlier in the year, but she has a little bit to find with Kinross on the City of York running,” the trainer said of the filly.

“Slower ground won’t be a problem to her and she seems in great shape, even though she has been on the go for some time. We’re hoping she can hold her form and run a good race.”

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