Midday Outshines All in Yorkshire Oaks

In an event which trainer Henry Cecil says could be her top performance to date, Midday has claimed victory in an action packed Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York.

Racing at York

Racing at York

The event was expected to be a battle between the dual Oaks winner last year Sariska and the victor of the same double this year, the Ed Dunlop charge Snow Fairy.

Sariska had other ideas and the battle of the rivals fizzed when she refused to run when the gates opened.

Snow Fairy, with jockey Richard Hughes replacing injury sidelined Ryan Moore, could be seen moving furtively making good headway but jockey Tom Queally aboard Midday moved into the lead two furlongs out, pulling clear inside the final furlong for a comfortable victory by three lengths. Sir Michael Stoute's Eleanora Duse was a further two lengths behind in third place.

"That was a great performance. She was always going so well and she went and won the race, but then thought she'd done enough," said trainer Cecil.

"She was alone in front but found more. It was a real pity Sariska didn't race, but the second is a very good filly.

"I would say that's as good as she's ever been and it was her best ever run.

"It's a bit of a consolation for the Prince with Twice Over getting beaten on Tuesday and it's his decision where she runs next.

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"There's the Prix Vermeille, the Prix de l'Opera or the Breeders' Cup. I wouldn't have thought it would be the Arc and I don't think she'd run in all three.

"We're not trying to prove we're the best in the world, rather just the best filly.

"I knew today she was better than at Goodwood and time will tell if she can improve even further.

"The Breeders' Cup will suit her more this year as it is over a mile and three furlongs.

"I would love the Prince to be able to breed nice horses from her so we don't want to be too hard on her. If she can win another Group One that would be great."

Winning jockey Queally commented, "It's fair to say she's getting better as she gets older. They went a good pace and I was sort of waiting for Sariska to come.

"She settled very well and got the trip very well, if anything I got there going a bit too well.

"She's one hell of a filly and she's very special to me.

"I wasn't aware Sariska was still in the stalls, I was keeping her up to her game as I thought she might be coming hard at the end.

"I knew I had the rest beat, but I went to the front a bit early.

"I needed a lead for another furlong and a half really, but she oozes class and ability and keeps getting better."

Sariska's trainer Michael Bell said, "Obviously it's disappointing and I'll have to talk to the owners about a plan, but if she's going to run again it has to be abroad and she's in the Prix Vermeille and other races.

"She was in the stalls for a long time and she is a little quirky, but not to that extent.

"The filly's fine and as Jamie Spencer said, nobody's died.

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