Saturday 24 June 2017

Midday rises to occasion as Sariska freezes up

Jockey Tom Queally pats Midday as they cross the line to win the Yorkshire Oaks
Jockey Tom Queally pats Midday as they cross the line to win the Yorkshire Oaks

JA McGrath

BILLED as the clash of three outstanding fillies, yesterday's Darley Yorkshire Oaks was deprived of its biggest star when Sariska refused to come out of the stalls, but her great rival Midday rose to the occasion and produced a stunning performance to earn another trip to the Breeders' Cup.

Even great families have traits that come back to haunt them. Sariska's half-sister Gull Wing had done exactly the same in Doncaster's Park Hill Stakes two years ago. She never ran again, and it is a distinct possibility that we have seen the last of Sariska.

Oblivious to the high spirits, high hemlines and high spending of Ladies Day, Sariska's trainer, Michael Bell, lamented: "It's very disappointing.

"It may or may not be the end of the road (for Sariska). We'll see. If she's going to run again it will be in the Prix Vermeille but it's a little quick to be making those decisions. It's very worrying and we're in a state of shock. Jamie (Spencer) said she was in the stalls a long time," the trainer added, searching for an explanation for the favourite's refusal to race. "Nobody died and the filly's fine. But right now we need some help with her."

The Henry Cecil-trained Midday won in brilliant fashion. She could be hailed the winner two furlongs out as Tom Queally sat, swinging on her, waiting to pounce.

Cecil wants her to avoid a clash with the colts in the autumn, which is why Midday will target either the Prix Vermeille or the Prix de l'Opera as a stepping stone to her defence of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf crown at Churchill Downs in November.

Queally said he had been as unaware of Sariska's absence as he had of the late charge by Rip Van Winkle that denied him the Juddmonte International on Twice Over two days earlier.

"This was my day -- Midday oozes class and was only doing half-speed when she had them all beaten," he commented. Snow Fairy, the three-year-old, was beaten three lengths and is 5/1 for the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster. She was beaten by an older, superior filly on the day.

A marvellous week for Kieren Fallon continued when 20/1 chance Brushing stayed on the best in the European Breeders' Fund Galtres Stakes.

Zarebiya was sent off the 11/8 favourite to give John Oxx his fourth win in the last six runnings of the race, but she lost all chance by rearing up as the stalls opened and was virtually pulled up.

Eddie Ahern managed to get 14/1 shot Monsieur Joe up in the nick of time for the eventmasters.co.uk 25th Anniversary Handicap.

Ryan Moore's wrist injury is costing him little ground in the jockeys' championship. Richard Hughes, who replaced him on Snow Fairy, is still without a winner this week but Paul Hanagan, the title leader, broke his duck when Wootton Bassett underscored his potential in the DBS Premier Yearling Stakes.

With its dizzy value of £300,000, it was easy to see why trainer Richard Fahey preferred the sales race option to group company. Yet, he insisted: "I've no doubt he'd have won the Gimcrack. He's the best two-year-old I've trained." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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