07/31/2017 3:50PM

Winter returns against older in Nassau Stakes

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Queen's Trust (outside) will have to give younger rivals eight pounds in the Nassau Stakes.

The 3-year-old filly Winter hasn’t raced in more than five weeks, but during her downtime, her stock has gone up, and she figures to be a solid favorite Thursday at Goodwood, where Winter meets older rivals for the first time while stretching out to 1 1/4 miles in the Group 1, $449,000 Nassau Stakes.

Winter was trained at age 2 by David Wachman, who retired after the 2016 flat season, leaving Winter in the eminently capable hands of trainer Aidan O’Brien. Winter had shown talent last year and, after a narrow loss while racing wide to kick off her campaign in Ireland, she went on to capture three straight Group 1 races: the English and Irish 1000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Roly Poly, another O’Brien-trained 3-year-old filly, was a well-beaten second in the Irish 2000 Guineas and the Coronation and has come back to beat older horses in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes and, even more impressively, on Sunday in the Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville.

Winter’s form already sparkled, but Roly Poly’s performances put an even glossier shine to it. There is some question whether Winter, who is by Galileo but out of a mare by the speed influence Choisir, can prosper over distances as long as 10 furlongs the way she has in one-mile races, but Winter is a big, strong filly who has stayed on well in her wins, and she’s a deserving favorite Thursday.

The field is a deep one and includes another talented 3-year-old filly trained for Juddmonte Farms by John Gosden, the connections that won the Group 1 King George last week with the 3-year-old filly Enable. Their Nassau entrant is Shutter Speed, by Dansili, who won her first three starts and further showed merit in finishing fourth last out in the Prix de Diane, or French Oaks. Shutter Speed wilted slightly late in that start, and racing a half-furlong shorter Thursday probably doesn’t hurt her chances.

The 3-year-olds get a considerable eight-pound weight break from the older Nassau runners, the best of whom is Queen’s Trust, the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner. Queen’s Trust has finished fourth in her two starts this year, but the first of them surely was intended mainly to shake off rust, and last out, she was beaten only two lengths by the victorious Highland Reel in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes on June 21.

Post time for the Nassau is 11:35 a.m. Eastern on a card that also includes the Group 2 Richmond Stakes for 2-year-olds and the Group 3 Fillies Stakes over 14 furlongs.