Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah’s Nathra enhanced her Classic claims when she posted a gutsy win in the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket on Tuesday.
Nathra powered through the soft ground under Frankie Dettori to win the Group 3 race over 1,400 metres from outsiders Squash and Robanne. Godolphin’s First Victory was sixth.
Trained in Newmarket by John Gosden, Nathra proved no match for Aidan O’Brien’s Minding in last season’s Group 1 Fillies’ Mile and could easily skip a rematch back here on May 1st in the English 1,000 Guineas.
“She’s done nothing but stay and it pays a huge compliment to Minding, who in my mind is the most impressive Fillies’ Mile winner we’ve ever seen,” Gosden said.
“I’m really happy. She’s in both the French Guineas and the 1,000 Guineas. She probably won’t run in both.
“We’ll see how she is over the next 10 days, it will be one way or the other.”
There was a strong showing from UAE-owned horses and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid was at Newmarket earlier on the card to see his silks dominate the seven-furlong Conditions race.
Thikriyaat came with a late run under Dane O’Neill to collar Tabarrak, ridden by Paul Hanagan.
It was a second victory from as many starts for Thikriyaat, who is a three-year-old son of 2005 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Azamour and is trained by Michael Stoute.
Godolphin flag-bearer Jack Hobbs will take his chance in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket during the Guineas Festival.
Last season’s Irish Derby winner, who looked bigger and stronger than last season, enjoyed a racecourse gallop along the Rowley Mile before racing in tandem with stablemate Dick Doughtywylie.
Ridden by William Buick, the son of Halling, a five-time Group 1 winner and four-time winner in Dubai, powered well clear of his companion despite showing inexperience of the course’s contours.
“Physically, he has put on 40 kilos since his last run,” Gosden said afterwards. “He’s a lot stronger through his neck but he’s never going to be a heavy horse as his father wasn’t.
“He’s done very well at home and has pleased all of us.”
Jack Hobbs twice finished behind European Horse of the Year Golden Horn last season before he scooped the Irish Derby at the Curragh in June. He then won a Conditions race at Kempton before he finished third in the Group 1 Champion Stakes in October.
Gosden revealed that the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July, when he would clash with Dubai Sheema Classic winner Postponed, would be the mid-season target before a possible tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October.
Godolphin chief executive and racing manager John Ferguson has already suggested the 2017 Sheema Classic is an intended target.
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