Following Enable’s brilliant victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, Khalid Abdullah’s pink, green and white silks will bid for more top-level glory on Thursday when Sun Maiden contests the Group 1 Nassau Stakes.
Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms is no stranger to success in this race as Midday, a half-sister to Sun Maiden’s dam Midsummer, landed a record three renewals of the Nassau Stakes between 2009 and 2011.
Sun Maiden’s sire Frankel was another to set the famous downs alight when he captured back-to-back editions of the Sussex Stakes in 2011 and 2012.
Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Sun Maiden has won two of her three starts this season including securing valuable black type in the Listed Nottinghamshire Oaks and the Group 3 Hoppings Fillies Stakes.
Speaking to QIPCO British Champions Series, Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Abdullah, said: “Michael [Stoute] and his team have done great work on her as she was a little bit hormonal last year. It seems they have got her into a good rhythm and she’s progressed really well.
“She won a nice Listed race at Nottingham and then won a Group 3 at Newcastle last time, when the race was not run ideally to suit her. The Tapeta was pretty heavy that day but she did it nicely enough and she deserves a crack at a big one.
“She’s a nice big, scopey filly. It looks a pretty hot race but she’s been going nicely at home and given us plenty of encouragement to go here.”
Her opponents in the 1m2f race include the Aidan O’Brien-trained duo Hermosa and Just Wonderful. Having captured both the 1,000 and Irish 1,000 Guineas, Hermosa was last seen finishing second behind French raider Watch Me in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Watch Me’s trainer Francis-Henri Graffard is represented in the Nassau Stakes by Channel, a daughter of Nathaniel who captured the Group 1 Prix de Diane last month.
Also on Thursday, 13 runners will contest the Group 2 Qatar Richmond Stakes including Cheveley Park Stud’s homebred Threat, who only went down by half a length to Coolmore’s exciting Arizona in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Before Thursday’s feature race, a field of nine will go to the post for the Group 3 Gordon Stakes over 1m4f. The Martyn Meade-trained Technician, who was last seen winning the Listed Prix Ridgway, looks more than capable of handling the slight step up in trip.
The David Simcock-trained Spanish Mission, owned by Earle Mack and Team Valor, was a commanding winner of the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month and even with a 3lb penalty, looks more than capable of proving up to the task.