Nassaudate on the cards for Banimpire

BANIMPIRE, beaten a short head by Blue Bunting in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh on Sunday, could join the star line-up for the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on July 30.

Trainer Jim Bolger said: “Banimpire may take her chance in the Nassau although a final decision won’t be made until early next week.”

Bolger won the Nassau Stakes with Alexander Goldrun in 2005.

A five-time winner this season, Banimpire went close to a first Group 1 win on Sunday when she was attempting to give Bolger his third Irish Oaks win.

She held an entry for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, but has since been scratched from the Ascot showpiece.

The Darley Yorkshire Oaks, where she would likely meet Blue Bunting again, is one possible target for dethroned Investec Oaks queen Dancing Rain, who followed her Epsom success with a fifth-placed finish at the Curragh.

“She seems fine and left Ireland this morning. She has a Yorkshire Oaks entry and we’ll reflect this week and come to a decision where she goes next,” said trainer William Haggas, who conceded the yielding ground at the Curragh may have worked against his charge.

“It may have been the ground, because she is such a fluid mover,” he said.

“We’ve beaten them before but on the day she didn’t do enough. I wasn’t disappointed though.”

Meanwhile, Nathaniel has been added to the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday at a cost of £75,000.

John Gosden’s colt was an impressive winner over the same course and distance in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot after finishing second to subsequent Irish Derby victor Treasure Beach in the Chester Vase.

Having skipped the Derby on account of fast ground, and also the Grand Prix de Paris last week, connections have taken the bold step to run him against older horses.

And the test could not be much sterner as last year’s Derby and Arc winner Workforce, Coronation Cup scorer St Nicholas Abbey and Prince of Wales’s Stakes victor Rewilding are all set to run in a potential seven-runner ensemble.

Rewilding wore down So You Think over 10 furlongs in the Prince of Wales’s and is expected to be even better still over a mile and a half.

Debussy could run in the same colours to ensure a true test.

St Nicholas Abbey has returned to his brilliant best this season and defeated Midday by a length at Epsom, with Henry Cecil’s multiple Group One-winning filly another possible this weekend.

However, it is unlikely she will run if Workforce lines up as they are in the same ownership. Aidan O’Brien has a strong second string in Seville if anything untoward were to happen to St Nicholas Abbey this week.

Meanwhile, Richard Hannon’s Lilbourne Lad will step up to Group One company when he returns to Ireland for the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on August 7.

Winner of three of his four starts, he took the Railway Stakes at Irish racing’s headquarters last month.

With Aidan O’Brien’s thinking of running Coventry Stakes winner Power, and with the David Brown-trained Frederick Engels also under consideration, a cracking contest is on the cards.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox