Racing: All At Sea faces smooth passage towards Nassau

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The Independent Online
ALL AT SEA's participation in the Oaks ended just when those who had backed her down to 11-10 hoped it would begin. It was at the two-furlong pole, where, contrary to all predictions, the Formula One vehicle we had watched in four earlier victories turned to Barney Rubble's square-wheeled jalopy and reduced favourite- backers to Flintstones attire, writes Paul Hayward.

Though User Friendly was a worthy winner you could still safely conclude that All At Sea's stamina failed in the pursuit of her target. Henry Cecil, her trainer, concluded as much almost immediately and chose today's Nassau Stakes at Goodwood as a suitable medium for a resurrection.

The Nassau is a quarter of a mile shorter than the Oaks, and All At Sea (3.10) ought to consolidate Cecil's position as the race's most successful trainer (he has won it four times). The connections of Ruby Tiger, who has captured prizes in Italy, Ireland, Germany and Canada, are unfortunate to be facing a filly of such quality in their attempt to win the Nassau for the second consecutive season.

Cecil's Imperial Ballet (4.45) is thought to be destined for greater things than the Surplice Stakes, though he may become unbackable if that theory is widely circulated, while everyone in Newmarket bar the tax inspectors has been told that Desert Shot (3.20) is a promising debutant from Michael Stoute's stable. Blockade (3.50) describes what we should normally mount against such 'information'.

The Chesterfield Cup is named after George Stanhope, the sixth Earl of Chesterfield and 'a reckless gambler'. Today's field hardly matches, say, the Golden Mile for punting opportunities, but KNOCK KNOCK (nap 2.30) is at the peak of his form and, like All At Sea, represents the race's most successful stable. Rising Tempo (next best 4.50) deserves some luck.