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First Mission & Nash prove a class apart at Oaklawn Park


First Mission put a disappointing Pegasus World Cup performance firmly behind him with a dominant victory in the G3 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park, USA, on Saturday, 23 March, a card that also saw Nash notch a first Stakes success.

Both Brad Cox-trained colts were partnered by Florent Geroux, who soon settled First Mission in a length second on the outside of Great Escape.

First Mission loomed up to lead on the bridle two furlongs from home and established daylight over his rivals entering the home straight. The Street Sense four-year-old powered further clear inside the final furlong, hitting the line five lengths in front of War Campaign.

Triple Crown nominee Nash secured his first win since taking a Churchill Downs maiden by 10 and a half lengths as he coasted to an equally convincing success in the Hot Springs Stakes.

The son of Medaglia d’Oro, who had placed in all three appearances over the winter at Fair Grounds, raced wide throughout and started to make smooth headway from fourth turning in.

Having taken up the running from Frost Free at the top of the straight, Nash readily went clear and cruised home to prevail by five and a half lengths over Carbone.