x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Blue Bunting gives Godolphin cheer with Yorkshire Oaks success

Blue Bunting boosted her prospects for the St Leger next month by winning the Yorkshire Oaks.

Image	Frankie Dettori rides Blue Bunting, right, to victory in The Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York yesterday.
Image Frankie Dettori rides Blue Bunting, right, to victory in The Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York yesterday.

YORK, England // Blue Bunting entered the reckoning yesterday for next month's St Leger at Doncaster by holding off a determined challenge from Vita Nova to win the Yorkshire Oaks.

A day after Sea Moon had put in a blistering performance to win the Great Voltigeur Stakes to become most racegoers' idea of the winner of the St Leger, Blue Bunting reminded everyone at York that fillies have a good record in the world's oldest Classic.

Three fillies have won the St Leger in the past 30 years from few serious runners, including Oh So Sharp, owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who completed the fillies Triple Crown in 1985.

Godolphin's record in the St Leger is a proud one, with the Dubai-based operation scoring five times.

William Buick rode Rumh, Godolphin's pacemaker, to perfection in the Yorkshire Oaks and he increased the tempo stealthily before Aidan O'Brien's Wonder Of Wonders took up the slack and went on with 500m left to race.

Blue Bunting was joined in the final 300 metres of the race by Vita Nova, owned by Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa, the pair swamped Wonder Of Wonders but the mount of Frankie Dettori stuck to her task admirably to win by three quarters of a length.

Godolphin's headline filly gave Dettori his first opportunity to perform his customary flying dismount since he suffered a hairline fracture to his toe in a fall from Rewilding in July.

"She's so tough. She's in season today so her mind was not totally on the job. She's never going to be flash, which means she'll never win by a long margin," Dettori said.

"She worked really hard. The decision to go to the St Leger is up to Sheikh Mohammed but she's done nothing wrong and she deserves to be there."

Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, confirmed that he had spoken with Sheikh Mohammed after the race and suggested that a decision on Blue Bunting's participation in the St Leger would be made within the next 10 days.

"It is a distinct possibility and we will see how she is," Crisford said. "There is every reason to go to the St Leger.

"I would say that she would definitely stay and the further she went the better she was. She would have a great chance if she ran there."

Blue Bunting clearly has a tough constitution and Crisford revealed an ambitious plan to race the daughter of Dynaformer until the end of the international season comes about.

Whether she heads for Doncaster or not, she will be enjoy a break in September before being prepared either for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf in November, or the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Commemorative Cup, won by Snow Fairy last season, in Kyoto in Japan the same month.

Elsewhere, Victoire Pisa's challenge for the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe is over before it had scarcely begun after the Dubai World Cup winner pulled up lame after training in France on Saturday.

The four-year-old suffered an inflamed left leg and, on veterinary advice, Victoire Pisa is to take five weeks off all work. The time off rules out the Japanese raider from next month's Prix Foy, a traditional prep race for the Arc.

Victoire Pisa, trained by Katsuhiko Sumii, has a history of lameness, having missed out on the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin in Hong Kong in May after he was found lame in his right hind.

sports@thenational.ae