Midday notched the fourth group I victory of her career as she rolled to an impressive three-length win in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) Aug. 19.
As the Henry Cecil-trained filly cruised to victory, one of her main rivals and the betting favorite, Sariska, was heading back to the barn earlier than planned. After warming up and entering the starting stalls without turning a hair, Sariska simply refused to race, planting her feet firmly and not budging an inch when the gates opened. A frustrated Jamie Spencer tried several times to get his filly to leave the stall, but his efforts were all in vain.
Sariska was declared a non-runner and all bets on her were refunded.
Of the seven fillies and mares that did race, it was Barshiba who went straight to the lead, setting a brisk pace under Paul Hanagan. They were followed closely by Flying Cloud and Hibaayeb, with Midday settled in mid-division and Snow Fairy tucked in behind her.
Barshiba continued to sail along on the lead, opening up a couple of lengths on the field as they entered the final turn. Midday was still traveling smoothly under Tom Queally, and the pair quickly began cutting into Barshiba’s lead, and eventually took command two furlongs from home.
Dual Oaks winner Snow Fairy was put under a drive by Richard Hughes and tried to reel in the Juddmonte filly, but Midday found another gear and spurted away, crossing the wire three lengths in front.
Snow Fairy finished second, two lengths in front of the late-closing Eleanora Duse. Final time for the 12 furlongs was 2:30.53 over the good turf course.
A pleased Henry Cecil told reporters after the race, “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 (Khalid Abdullah, owner) with Twice Over getting beaten on Tuesday, and it’s his decision where she runs next.”
“There’s the Prix Vermeille, the Prix de l’Opera or the Breeders’ Cup,” Cecil continued. “I wouldn’t have thought it would be the Arc.”
“We’re not trying to prove we’re the best in the world, rather just the best filly.”
Midday is a 4-year-old daughter of Oasis Dream out of the winning Kingmambo mare, Midsummer. She is from the immediate family of champions Reams of Verse and Elmaamul.