Blue Bunting and Frankie Dettori (right) take the Yorkshire Oaks.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Blue Bunting and Frankie Dettori (right) take the Yorkshire Oaks.
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Trevor Jones

Blue Bunting Gets Hat Trick in Yorkshire Oaks

Blue Bunting held off Vita Nova to win the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) Aug. 18.

Blue Bunting repelled the late challenge of Vita Nova to win the $483,500 Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) by three-quarters of a length at York Racecourse Aug. 18.

The win marked the third group I of the season for the 3-year-old daughter of Dynaformer, who also has victories in the Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I) and QIPCO One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) to her credit.

With John Gosden opting to run champion Snow Fairy on Aug. 21 in France, a field of eight fillies and mares went to the post in the Yorkshire Oaks. Favoritism fell on Godolphin’s Blue Bunting, who would be facing older rivals for the first time.

Even with the defection of Snow Fairy, the field of the Oaks was a quality one. Jim Bolger’s Banimpire, who defeated colts last time out in the Keeneland Royal Whip Stakes (Ire-II), was seeking to turn the tables on Blue Bunting after her narrow nose defeat in the Irish Oaks. Wonder Of Wonders, an Aidan O’Brien trainee, hoped to improve off her third-place finish to both of those fillies in that same race.

Also highly-regarded in the field were Vita Nova and Crystal Capella. Sir Henry Cecil’s Vita Nova entered the Oaks off of a runner-up finish in the Bet365 Lancashire Oaks (Eng-II) July 2. Crystal Capella, conditioned by Sir Michael Stoute, was a decisive winner of the Princess of Wales’s Stakes (Eng-II) July 7.

Frankie Dettori settled Blue Bunting toward the rear of the field after the break, as their Godolphin stablemate Rumh went to the front to set the pace. Rumh was tracked closely by Wonder Of Wonders and Vita Nova, as Banimpire and Crystal Capella rolled along comfortably in midfield.

The order remained much the same throughout the early stages of the race, as Rumh continued gallop along on the front end. As the field turned into the home straight, Wonder Of Wonders was the first to challenge, charging past Rumh to take the lead.

Vita Nova, ridden by Tom Queally, rolled up to take on Wonder Of Wonders near the stand’s side rail, as Banimpire and Crystal Capella quickly joined the fray.

At the three-furlong marker it was still anyone’s race. Wonder Of Wonders tried to hold off the onslaught of challengers. But Dettori was hard at work aboard Blue Bunting as the gray filly charged up on the outside to vie for the lead.

Two furlongs from the wire, Blue Bunting overtook Wonder Of Wonders and assumed a short advantage. She was soon joined by Vita Nova, and the two fillies fought it out to the wire, with Blue Bunting doggedly holding on for the victory.

Wonder Of Wonders once again had to settle for third, another 3 3/4 lengths farther back. Final time for the 12 furlongs was 2:35.34 over the good to soft going.

An always ebullient Dettori said after the race, “She’s so tough and she’s in season today; her mind wasn’t exactly on the job and it made it really hard work for me. She’s never going to be flash(y) and win by a large distance, but she’s very hard to get past.”

All options are open for the Mahmood Al Zarooni trainee; connections have indicated a possible try in the St. Leger Stakes (Eng-I) next month.

Blue Bunting was bred in Kentucky by B.M. Kelley, and was sold for $200,000 at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton August yearling sale to Anthony Stroud. The gray filly is out of the unraced Linamix mare, Miarixa.