x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Sariska outclasses field

Sariska takes her second Classic of the season when she cantered to victory in the Darley Irish Oaks.

Sariska and Jamie Spencer cantered to victory in the Darley Irish Oaks.
Sariska and Jamie Spencer cantered to victory in the Darley Irish Oaks.

Sariska took her second Classic of the season yesterday when she cantered to victory in the Darley Irish Oaks. So easy did the Pivotal filly travel that her jockey, Jamie Spencer, had time to wave nonchalantly to close friend Fran Berry as he passed the long-time leader aboard Roses for the Lady in the Curragh's home straight.

The race was a renewal of the rivalry established at the Epsom Oaks in June when Sariska, trained by Michael Bell, took victory from Henry Cecil's Midday by a head. But rain saw the going declared soft-heavy and Midday, who was third yesterday with Tom Queally in the irons, could not handle the energy-sapping mile-and-a-half, which many jockeys had described as "tacky". Spencer tucked Sariska in on the inside six lengths back from the leaders for the majority of the race, waiting to make his move until Roses for the Lady, trained by Sea the Stars handler John Oxx and considered no more than an outside chance, was being ridden all out inside the final two furlongs.

Then, almost motionless in the saddle while the others were energetically sending their runners forward, Spencer squeezed the Lady Bamford-owned filly, took one glance behind to make sure he wasn't interfering with another horse, and sent her for home from the outside. Roses for the Lady finished a good second while Oxx's fancied runner, Beauty O'Gwaum, was dead last. "We'd gone a good gallop and I saw the others were dying in front of me," said Spencer. "I was holding her a bit because it was tricky ground but we felt that she could really come into her own on the soft going.

"She's such a good filly the way she behaves. She doesn't sweat up or get herself upset, all she does is eat, sleep and relax." Sariska's trainer, Bell, added: "She's a beauty to look at, a really stunning filly and has the engine to match. She was just far superior to them and she has to be very exciting to win a race like that without coming out of second gear." stregoning@thenational.ae