Stable jockey William Buick believes John Gosden’s pair of Izzi Top and The Fugue will fight out the finish in today’s Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
Buick had a difficult choice to make once it became evident the stable companions would do battle on the Sussex Downs and has come down on the side of the year older Izzi Top, who is unbeaten in three starts this season.
The Fugue was many people’s idea of the moral winner of the Investec Oaks at Epsom in June having suffered major interference on her way to finishing third and she was last seen running second in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Izzi Top has already struck at the highest level this year having landed last month’s Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh and Buick is banking on her extra maturity to help her come out on top again today.
“It was a very tough choice, I don’t like making those sort of choices. It’s a good problem to have but it’s not easy. They are two very good fillies,” the leading rider told Racing UK.
“As I’ve said before, The Fugue should have won the Epsom Oaks and had she won that race, maybe my choice would have been different.
“Izzi Top is the older filly and I feel at this stage she maybe is a better filly right now, but The Fugue will be as good, or even better maybe, in time.
“I wouldn’t split them, I think whatever order they finish in they’ll be one and two. I think they will be very hard to beat for the other fillies.”
If any filly is to stop Gosden plundering yet another Group One prize during what has been a fantastic season for the Clarehaven handler, the most likely candidate to do so is Roger Varian’s Nahrain.
The daughter of Selkirk was unbeaten in her first four starts as a three-year-old, completing the four-timer in the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp.
She went down fighting when suffering her first reverse on her final appearance of 2011 in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, but was well beaten on her first start this year in the Windsor Forest Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Varian feels his stable star will be much sharper this weekend, however, and is anticipating a more distinguished performance.
He said: “She was a bit rusty at Ascot but seems to have come on a lot for the run. She has really come to herself and looks in great condition. Her work has been very good and we are hoping for a good run from her.
“It’s obviously a very tough race, but it deserves to be as it’s a Group One.
“Izzi Top is already a Group One winner this year and The Fugue was unlucky not to win the Oaks, so you’d say they are the two that stand up.
“There is also a Classic winner in the field in Aidan O’Brien’s Oaks winner Was and I don’t think there are many of them that don’t deserve to be in the race.
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