08/03/2013 10:59AM

Winsili steps up in Nassau, Sky Lantern a troubled fifth


Winsili ran the best race of her career to score a 20-1 upset Saturday at Goodwood in the Group 1, $173,374 Nassau Stakes, as favored Sky Lantern got into serious trouble in deep stretch and had to settle for fifth.

Bred and owned by Juddmonte Farms, trained by John Gosden, and ridden by William Buick, 3-year-old Winsili was facing older rivals for the first time while making her Group 1 debut after a fourth-place finish in the 1 1/2- mile Ribblesdale Stakes. A turn back to 1 1/4 miles in the Nassau benefited her, but Winsili also must have improved markedly making her third start of 2013.

Breaking from the far outside post, Winsili settled near the back of the 14-horse pack for the first half of the Nassau, but she moved up strongly about three furlongs out, and her sharp progress on the outside contributed to Sky Lantern’s trouble. As Winsili whizzed past, followed up closely by Thistle Bird, Sky Lantern and jockey Richard Hughes were denied an outside slot from which to launch a final run. Hughes had to steer back into the pack, and his effort to thread a small seam in the final furlong failed, with Sky Lantern having to be sharply checked back out of contention.

Meanwhile, outside and in the clear, Winsili maintained her momentum all the way through the finish, holding clear a sustained bid from 33-1 outsider Thistle Bird, who ran the race of her life. Hot Snap, another 3-year-old, finished well for third after being slightly hindered by a tardy start. Sajjhaa, in a strong spot a quarter-mile out, produced no decisive run and checked in fourth.

Winsili is a daughter of Dansili who was produced by the Pivotal mare Winter Sunrise. Gosden, who won the Nassau for the second straight year, having taken the 2012 edition with The Fugue, mentioned the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf as a possible long-range goal for Winsili, while warning that the filly can be tricky to saddle, and would require schooling sessions at a distant venue.