Nathra confirmed the promise of last year to keep her Classic claims alive when forming the centrepiece of a treble for trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori on the opening day of the Craven meeting at Newmarket yesterday.
While a decision as to which 1000 Guineas the daughter of Iffraaj will ultimately contest, the manner of her win in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes suggests she will be a force whichever route is taken.
Although briefly threatened to be cut short of a run, Dettori ensured that the hard-luck story would not be played out when switching the 5-4 favourite, who found only the Aidan O’Brien-trained Minding too good in the Fillies’ Mile, into clear daylight to throw down her challenge.
While the Charlie McBride-trained Squash stayed on, she could not find the necessary gears to go with the winner, with a length and a half between them in the seven-furlong Group Three.
Gosden said: “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.
“It looked like they were going to come across to the rail as Frankie thought he was going to get well and truly boxed in and he had to move from his gap. As soon as he said, ‘Go’, she took off. He could have waited another 100 yards and she might have done it easier but he couldn’t have afforded to wait that long with the risk of being up against the rail.
“I’m really happy. She’s in both the French Guineas and the 1000 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.”
A return to Newmarket next month for the Pretty Polly Stakes could now be upon the horizon for stablemate Swiss Range (7-4 favourite) following her convincing five-length victory in the EBF Stallions Newmarket Community Raceday Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.
Gosden said: “She is a nice filly, but is a tall girl that is on the weak side. She is talented and we will see how she is over the next couple of weeks.
“We could look at races like the Pretty Polly as she wants stepping up to a mile and a quarter now.”
Castle Harbour (100-30) rounded out a successful day for Gosden and Dettori when he tenaciously repelled his rivals by a length in the Alex Scott Maiden Stakes.
Gosden said: “He is a grand horse that missed last year through no fault of his own. He had been pleasing me nicely on the bridle at home. He has done nothing but improve. I love his attitude and he really stuck his neck out.”
Plans to venture further afield may now be explored by connections of the Richard Hannon-trained Ventura Storm (15-8 favourite) following his winning return in the 1stsecuritysolutions.co.uk Feilden Stakes.
Tim Palin, racing manager to owner’s Middleham Park Racing, said: “He is in the German 2000 Guineas but that won’t happen.
“He’ll be in the Dante and the French Derby and the Italian Derby.
“He could go somewhere before the French Derby, but would go straight to Italy.
“As Richard said, when you’re in the promised land, it might be worth having a shot at the Dante and French Derby.”
The victory marked the second leg of a double for jockey Ryan Moore, who claimed the concluding Winning Post Pavilion Experience Handicap aboard the John Quinn-trained Speed Company (5-1).
Michael Stoute continued his blistering start to the campaign when Thikriyaat (8-1) made it two victories from as many starts in the NGK Spark Plugs Stakes, while the Kevin Ryan-trained Teruntum Star (16-1) showed his appreciation for a softer surface with victory in the Ben Burgess & Co Handicap.
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