Head relishing Nashwa clash in Qatar Nassau Stakes with superstar filly Blue Rose Cen

Horse Racing | Press Article 17/04/24

Based in Chantilly, 36-year-old Christopher Head is a fifth-generation French trainer from a family steeped in horse racing history. The son of legendary trainer Freddy Head and nephew of Criquette, Head is no stranger to equine superstars with the yard he now trains from the former home of Goldikova, Moonlight Cloud and Solow.

With father Freddy retiring last year, the Head dynasty has showed no sign of slowing down courtesy of Christopher Head’s star filly Blue Rose Cen completing a rare Group 1 treble comprising France'spremier prize for two-year-old fillies, the Prix Marcel Boussac, as well as the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) and the Prix de Diane (French Oaks). Christopher Head now has set his sights on an ambitious raid over the channel in the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes on Thursday 3 August at Goodwood Racecourse, setting up a tantalising clash with last year’s Prix de Diane and Nassau Stakes winner Nashwa.

Head is relishing the challenge and he said: “It’s always been in my mind to go to another country at some point. With Blue Rose Cen, I really feel this is possible and I can’t wait to go up against the best of the Irish and English in the Qatar Nassau Stakes.”

Trained by his father Freddy, Solow was the last French horse to win a Group 1 at the Qatar Goodwood Festival when he won the Qatar Sussex Stakes in 2015 and eight years on, Christopher is hoping to create history on what will be his ever trip to the track.

He added: “I’ve never been to Goodwood but I’ve taken a lot of experience from various people who have been there. My father is part of it, of course, and we will be fully prepared for it.”

Now rated as the highest-rated three-year-old middle distance filly in Europe, Head has paid tribute to her ability and temperament.

He said: “She is a filly that has done everything we’ve asked of her. She had a brilliant two-year-old career. Since then she has been brilliant and resilient in her work and in her races. It is a challenge to make a two-year-old become a nice three-year-old but she has improved from each run this year and has really come on physically after the Prix de Diane.”

Blue Rose Cen’s jockey Aurelien Lemaitre has never ridden at Goodwood but Head is very confident in his ability and the ability of his filly to handle the track and the occasion of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Head said: “Aurelien is a brilliant jockey. It’s been a pleasure to work with him since the beginning. What I like most about him is he is a great judge of pace in races. Since we work a lot with that in our training, he is the perfect jockey for us. I’m sure Blue Rose Cen can deal with the track at Goodwood. We know that she goes on any ground. If it happens to be soft ground that is even better, but we are relaxed.”

Blue Rose Cen's 76-year-old owner-breeder Leopoldo Fernandez Pujals (Yeguada Centurion) is a Cuban born Vietnam War veteran, who made his fortune in Spain in pizzas and telecommunications. He was a well-known breeder of Spanish horses but was convinced to take a chance on Head as a young trainer. Out of his five horses with Head, Blue Rose Cen is one and Big Rock is another who finished second in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby).

Head has praised his owner for not shying away from any race or challenge and opened up the possibility of her running in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October. He said: “I think Leopoldo from Yeguada Centurion is a sportsman so he wants to get into challenges. There is still the possibility we could try her over further to see what she is capable of and test her limits. She is so relaxed during her races that you could expect her to stay further and still use her turn of foot. She will probably go to the Vermeille after the Nassau Stakes and then we will see if she stays. The Breeders’ Cup is a possibility too but it’s a bit further away in the programme book so we still need to discuss it with the owner.”

About Goodwood Racecourse:

Home of the flagship Qatar Goodwood Festival, Goodwood Racecourse's famous five-day meeting from the 1 - 5 August presents a spellbinding sporting and social occasion like no other. Live music meets sensational style with a plethora of equine superstars, all looking to be crowned on the world stage, as well as the return of the inspirational Markel Magnolia Cup.

Featuring no less than 13 Group races, including the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup, the Qatar Sussex Stakes, often referred to as the 'Duel on the Downs', and the cavalry charge that is the Coral Stewards' Cup, it's the place to be seen. Off the track, Tuesday's Lord Taverners Twenty20 cricket match and Friday's much anticipated L'Ormarins best-dressed competition showcase on a fabulous supporting card.

Tickets, dining, and hospitality are on sale for the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Visit or call 01243 755055 to find out more.

For further information, please contact:

Emma Chamings

Goodwood Racecourse Press Office / 07887 792980