/ Racing

Winsili lands surprise Nassau Stakes win

Updated: Saturday, 03 Aug 2013 17:21 | Comments

Winsili breaks away to win the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes
Winsili breaks away to win the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes

John Gosden inflicted a second jarring defeat to connections of Sky Lantern as Winsili emerged a 20-1 winner of the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

There had been an unsuccessful appeal at the British Horseracing Authority over interference received by Sky Lantern when Gosden's Elusive Kate subjugated her in last month's Falmouth Stakes and while the popular grey hardly had the rub of the green again here, she may equally have been feeling the effect of an extensive campaign as she could only finish fifth.

Winsili, following on from stablemate The Fugue 12 months earlier, was continuing the strong association with the Group One event for owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, whose Midday managed an unequalled three wins in a row between 2009 and 2011.

Gosden has not been conservative with this daughter of Dansili, who has a few discipline issues, and supplemented her for last season's Fillies' Mile only to be unable to run her due to a minor setback.

She had opened her account this year by winning a Listed race over this 10-furlong distance at Newbury and was fourth in the Ribblesdale at Ascot.

Richard Hughes on 7-4 favourite Sky Lantern, the 1000 Guineas winner, had been the man to take advantage on The Fugue last year, with William Buick riding the unplaced Izzi Top.

It was rather ironic he singled out Buick and Winsili for keeping him imprisoned among horses when waiting to make his move in the middle of the home straight.

There was nothing left for the Richard Hannon-trained Sky Lantern to offer and as Winsili arranged her sweeping late arrival, she instead had to hold off the equally restrained Thistle Bird and there was just a neck between them at the post.

The stewards acknowledged the interference but only banned Buick two days (September 17 and 18) for use of the whip, with James Doyle on Thistle Bird handed four days for the same offence.

"It's not a fluke - I didn't bring her here for the Sussex air," said Gosden.

"She won well over a mile and a quarter (at Newbury), and at Ascot she just didn't stay. Straight after that we thought we could go for smart races like this.

"I thought, like everyone else, that Sky Lantern was the one to beat. She's a gorgeous filly and the Falmouth is not something that sits easily with me. It was unsatisfactory and I admire the Hannons immensely.

"We were drawn outside, which does have dreadful disadvantages, but does mean you are unlikely to get boxed in - you have to go the long way around, but you can avoid trouble."

Referring to Winsili's character, Gosden said: "She cannot stand still. She's happy in perpetual motion. You do meet people who are like Roadrunner, with a bottle of water and they are always running or jogging, and they don't have pinch on them. They die at 40 or live to 100. She's like that.

"She will be running in nice mile and a quarter races and I will probably keep her with fillies.

"She could be a possibility for the Breeders' Cup but she would have to get there a week in advance and be schooled in the paddock at Santa Anita. I might leave that decision to the owner."

This was the one blot on a superb week for Hughes, who was crowned leading rider at the meeting for the fourth year in succession.

He said: "I had a good run through all the way, then I got behind the Godolphin runner (Sajjhaa) at the two-pole, I went to go round her but Mr Buick's filly rolled in on her and pushed her back on her heels.

"That's racing, she was very unlucky. Her tongue was hanging out to one side, I wasn't totally happy and maybe she remembers the slap she got in the face with the whip at Newmarket. But I had a gap and then Winsili rolled down and pushed me back in behind."

Hannon's son and assistant, Richard jnr, said: "It was a rough race and we'll see how she comes out of it. She might go Sun Chariot, Matron and then Breeders' Cup."

The result was a pleasant surprise for Roger Charlton and Thistle Bird, and the trainer's son Tom said: "We were hoping for fourth and she has now been placed in a Group One, so job done.

"As for plans, we can look at races like the Celebration Mile and the Matron Stakes."

Abdullah also managed to provide the third, Midday's half-sister Hot Snap, who offered far more encouragement than when going out with a whimper on her previous start as 1000 Guineas favourite.

The owner's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe suggested the Prix de l'Opera and the Breeders' Cup could also be on her agenda as well as Winsili's, while fourth-placed Sajjhaa was another returning from a lay-off and heads for the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

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