x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

The Fugue's future extended until Dubai Wold Cup

The filly has been in poor form but will continue with a view to picking up the big prize.

The Fugue, far left, finished third behind Was and Shirocco Star.
The Fugue, far left, finished third behind Was and Shirocco Star.

GOODWOOD, England // There is a sense of unfinished business at Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket, a feeling that The Fugue should be coming in to today's Group 1 Nassau Stakes as an English Oaks winner.

Nothing went right for William Buick, the jockey, at Epsom Racecourse in June when The Fugue was hampered badly.

Buick collected his mount and the pair came with a late rattle to pick up third behind the winner Was, who is also in today's race, and second-place Shirocco Star.

The British summer then washed away their hopes at Royal Ascot when they were second in the Ribblesdale Stakes.

Such is the feeling of lost opportunity that the decision has been taken to extend The Fugue's career on into next year by John Gosden, her trainer, and Lord Lloyd Webber, the owner and composer, with a view to picking up a large prize in Dubai.

"She is a filly that will stay in training at four," Gosden said. "She only had one run as a two year old.

"When you look at her in the paddock she is still just a frame of a filly. She could well go for the proper races in Dubai at the end of March."

Lloyd Webber and Gosden have previous form in this department when in 2010 they hit the high notes when scooping the inaugural Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan Racecourse with Dar Re Mi.

Call it coincidence, or perhaps a little slice of fate, but last season The Fugue won the same Newmarket maiden race that Dar Re Mi could not.

The path to redemption today is not a clear one, however. Such is the strength in depth of Gosden's fillies that Izzi Top, The Fugue's stablemate, also lines up in the 10 furlong contest.

Izzi Top ploughed through appalling conditions to deny three rivals in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes in Ireland last month. The decision about which filly to ride was a tortuous one for Buick, but the 23-year-old rider has chosen proven form over potential.

"It was very tough to get off The Fugue," Buick said.

"I am very aware that I might have made the wrong decision but I will have to wait and see and I hope I am right.

"In terms of pure ability I don't see there is anything between them. I think right now, Izzi Top is a better filly. In time The Fugue will be every bit as good as Izzi Top but she might be better."

The two fillies face six rivals including Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid's Nahrain, although given how the fillies division has panned out in Europe this season it is anyone's guess who might win.

There have been 11 Group 1 races confined to fillies and mares staged in Europe this season and each has produced a different winner.

Was and Izzi Top have the chance to double up today but with John Gosden having won four of the past five of those, perhaps it will be replacement rider Richard Hughes aboard The Fugue who will deliver vindication to Clarehaven.


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