Winsili winning the Nassau Stakes from Thistle Bird with Hot Snap thirdPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Winsili springs surprise for Gosden in Nassau
Report: Goodwood, Saturday
Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes (Group 1) 1m2f 3yo+ f/m
WINSILI produced a 20-1 surprise for John Gosden in a messy Nassau, as favourite Sky Lantern suffered no luck in running down the home straight and was unplaced.
Fourth in the Ribblesdale last time out, the drop back in trip suited the filly, who was providing owner Khalid Abdullah with his fourth win in the last five runnings following three straight wins for Midday, while trainer John Gosden was successful 12 months ago with The Fugue.
Gosden said: "She doesn't like being saddled but she has lots of talent. I ran her in the Ribblesdale but she quite simply didn't stay but she has come here and done it well from a difficult outside draw, although one thing about an outside draw is that you do get a clear run. You don't always get a clear run with 14 runners at Goodwood."
On potential targets the trainer added: "She can run in nice mile and a quarter races and I intend to keep her with fillies. She could be a possibility [for the Breeders' Cup] but I'd have to get there a week early and school her in the Santa Anita paddock."
There was early drama when Seamie Heffernan appeared to be heading on to the wrong course on leader Just Pretending, but he realised in time and tacked back over to take the field along with Banoffee.
Approaching the business end of the race Sajjhaa was travelling nicely for Silvestre de Sousa with Hughes tracking on Sky Lantern, while Just The Judge proved disappointing, not handling the track and never getting involved.
Connections of Just The Judge later revealed the filly had ripped a shoe off.
However, while plenty had gone right during the week for Richard Hughes, he was boxed in at a crucial time as Winsili drifted over into Sajjhaa and hampered Sky Lantern in behind.
With no time left to recover it was left to Winsili to hold off 33-1 chance Thistle Bird, with Hot Snap making up ground to take third at 5-1.
Hughes said following the race: "I had a good run through and I was behind the Godolphin filly at the two-furlong pole, but when I went to edge out round her Mr Buick's horse rolled in and pushed me back on their heels. I think I was on the best horse in the race. She was coming to win her race but that's racing."
Tom Charlton, representing his father Roger, was delighted with Thistle Bird's run and said: "We were here looking for fourth and so that's job done so far as her pedigree and breeding is concerned.
"We were riding her as a non-stayer as she doesn't really get a mile and a quarter, and from a furlong out she was running on empty, but she's so tough. I should think we will look at the Celebration Mile or maybe the Matron Stakes."
There was a sting in a tail for the first two jockeys home, as Buick received a two-day ban for using his whip above the permitted level on Winsili, with James Doyle given four days for the same offence on runner-up Thistle Bird.