08/02/2003 12:00AM

Russian Rhythm captures Nassau


Russian Rhythm landed her third consecutive Group 1 race in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday, but was made to pull out all the stops by a French challenger, Ana Marie

Ridden by Kieren Fallon for trainer Michael Stoute, Russian Rhythm was sent off the 4-5 favorite despite doubts about her staying power as she stepped up beyond a mile for the first time.

Fallon extricated her from a pocket on the inside rail approaching the quarter pole, and she stayed on resolutely under strong pressure to catch Ana Marie 50 yards from the line and win by a neck. There was a five-length break back to the winner's stablemate, Zee Zee Top, in third. The time for the 1 1/8 miles 192 yards on good turf was 2:04.80.

An American-bred 3-year-old daughter of Kingmambo, Russian Rhythm now has six victories and one second-place finish from seven career starts and a bankroll of about $900,000.

The labored style of her success suggests that her stamina was stretched to its limits, but Stoute was quick to point out, "She lost momentum at a vital stage, and we didn't want to come wide, as that is where the worst ground is. She is better on a livelier surface. Winning here gives us another option, as we now know she stays."

Said Fallon, "I had to switch her to where the worst ground is, and she couldn't get hold of it. When I asked her, she really dug deep and found what I knew she would - she has a really big heart."