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O'Brien backs Hermosa to go the distance


Hot favourite: Too Darn Hot, ridden by Frankie Dettori (centre), heads for victory in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood yesterday
Hot favourite: Too Darn Hot, ridden by Frankie Dettori (centre), heads for victory in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood yesterday

By Nick Robson

Hermosa should regain the winning thread in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

Aidan O'Brien always planned to step the dual Guineas winner up to 10 furlongs but was tempted to have another crack at a mile at Royal Ascot, given how dominant she had been in the Irish version.

While she beat all the British and Irish fillies once more, she had no answer to the French challenger Watch Me.

Yet again her biggest rival on Thursday could be a cross-channel raider - ironically one called Channel, who arrives on the back of a three-race winning streak.

Last time out she won the Prix de Diane, the race O'Brien had been eyeing for Hermosa, but they did finish in a heap at Chantilly, suggesting they were all much of a muchness.

Two who disappointed in the Oaks, Maqsad and Mehdaayih, give the Nassau further strength in depth - but Hermosa can see them all off.

Richard Hannon's Threat looks the one to beat in the Qatar Richmond Stakes.

Hannon has made no secret of the regard in which he holds the Cheveley Park Stud-owned juvenile and he had no trouble in making a winning debut at Newmarket, beating youngsters from the top yards.

All roads then led to Royal Ascot and the Coventry Stakes, where he came up against the leading juveniles of the season and found just one too good in Aidan O'Brien's Arizona.

While Threat was not last off the bridle by any means, it was pleasing that he kept on finding for pressure, and the temptation must have been to run him over seven furlongs in the Vintage Stakes.

Though the Coventry might not have been as hot as in previous seasons, Threat still has the best form on offer and it will be disappointing if he is beaten.

The Gordon Stakes looks far more wide open, but Jessica Harrington's Leo De Fury is taken to maintain his unbeaten record.

A colt by Australia, he made a winning debut at the Curragh late last month when bolting up by five lengths.

Last time out at Navan a couple of weeks later, he scared the opposition away and only faced two rivals - winning by the same margin.

It took him just a few strides to hit top gear. But there is no denying that his strongest furlong was his last, so the step up in trip should really suit.

William Haggas had a handful of entries in the Unibet Handicap, and most looked better treated than Sinjaari, who now appears to be the number one contender.

Well fancied for the London Gold Cup - which, as ever, is working out incredibly well - he was narrowly beaten by subsequent Group Two winner Headman.

He failed to stay a mile and a half at Royal Ascot but has been dropped 1lb and has a decent draw back down in trip.

Fred could prove the pick of Mark Johnston's runners in the Telegraph Nursery Handicap, with Frankie Dettori booked.

Rae Guest's Poets Dance should open her account in the MansionBet EBF Fillies' Novice Stakes at Nottingham.

Placed twice already, she can put her experience to good use.

Singing The Blues has been ultra consistent of late and can notch another win in the Focus Rigging Handicap at Epsom over the Derby course and distance.


EPSOM: 5.45 Light Of Air, 6.20 Singing The Blues, 6.55 Magic Twist, 7.30 Zoraya, 8.00 City Wanderer, 8.30 Ifton.

FFOS LAS: 5.35 Chromium, 6.10 Hubert, 6.40 Paths Of Glory, 7.15 Ghaith, 7.45 The Game Is On, 8.15 Lihou, 8.45 Edged Out.

GALWAY: 2.00 Early Doors, 2.35 Zero Ten, 3.10 Ciao, 3.45 Surrounding, 4.20 Ash Hill, 4.55 Gardens Of Babylon, 5.30 Marine One, 5.59 Ballylig.

GOODWOOD: 1.50 Sinjaari, 2.25 THREAT (NAP), 3.00 Leo De Fury, 3.35 Hermosa, 4.10 Fred, 4.45 Craylands, 5.20 Pass The Gin.

NOTTINGHAM: 1.40 Poets Dance, 2.15 Spiritofthenorth, 2.50 Burning Topic, 3.25 Bruyere, 4.00 Junderstand, 4.35 Daphinia, 5.10 Victoriano.

STRATFORD: 1.30 Emerald Rocket, 2.05 Write It Down, 2.40 Capitoul, 3.15 Canny Tom, 3.50 Green Or Black, 4.25 Code Of Law, 5.00 North Star Oscar.

DOUBLE: Threat and Hermosa.

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