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Midday Impressive Yet Again in Prix Vermeille

Midday was a decisive winner of the Qatar Prix Vermeille (Fr-I) Sept. 12.

Midday punched her ticket to Churchill Downs for a defense of her title in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) with a decisive victory in the Qatar Prix Vermeille (Fr-I) at Longchamp Sept. 12.  

While Midday earned a trip to the Breeders’ Cup, her longtime rival Sariska earned a well-deserved retirement, as she once refused to leave the starting gate.  It was the second straight time that the daughter of Pivotal refused to race, and trainer Michael Bell announced that the champion filly, who captured both the Investec Oaks (Eng-I) and Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I) last year, would be retired.

As the rest of the field broke from the gate, it was Ashiyla who went to the front to set the pace.  She was followed by Plumania and Lady’s Purse, with Tom Queally and Midday content to track them from fourth.  Just behind Midday in fifth was High Heeled, while the favorite, Sarafina, was settled in toward the rear of the pack during the early stages.

The pace was an honest one as Ashiyla continued to lead the field over the first mile.  Plumania raced in second, as Midday moved into third.  High Heeled was still in contention, and Sarafina was beginning to make progress from the rear.

With two furlongs remaining, Plumania shot to the front under Olivier Peslier and opened up a small lead.  Queally had gone to work aboard Midday, and though it took her a few strides to get going, the 4-year-old rallied strongly, surging past Plumania in the final yards to win easily by three-quarters of a length.

Plumania held on for second by a half-length over Sarafina, who just nailed Ashiyla on the wire for third.  Final time for the 12 furlongs was 2:32.40 over the soft Longchamp course.

The Prix Vermeille was the fifth group I win for Midday, who has improved her record to seven wins in 15 starts.  

Winning trainer Henry Cecil said of his star filly after the race, “She was a little bit lazy when she hit the front. They did not go fast and she would probably have been suited by a quicker pace, but she won well and it is lovely to win another group I race with her.”

Regarding Midday’s future plans Cecil said, “I really needed to get another run into her to get ready for the Breeders’ Cup. I love the Arc, but the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf is her race.”

Midday is a 4-year-old daughter of Oasis Dream out of the winning Kingmambo mare Midsummer.  She was bred in England by her owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farm, and hails from the immediate family of champions Reams of Verse and Elmaamul.

Behkabad Enhances Arc Credentials

Behkabad just got up in the final strides to take the Qatar Prix Niel (Fr-II) by a head over Planteur.  The Prix Niel, which serves as a key 3-year-old prep for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) on Oct 3, is also a part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” series.  With the victory, Behkabad earned himself an automatic berth in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) on Nov. 6.

Vivre Libre went to the front to set the pace for his stablemate, Planteur, who sat just behind him in second.  Jockey Christophe Lemaire had Behkabad in third, as Kidnapping raced in fourth.

As the field entered the home straight, Planteur assumed the lead and quickened away from the field with two furlongs to go.  Lemaire was hard at work aboard Behkabad, and the pair needed the entire stretch to finally get up and nail Planteur on the wire.  

Kidnapping finished third, another four lengths further back.  Final time for the 12 furlongs was 2:30.80.

Behkabad, who is conditioned by Jean-Claude Rouget for his owner/breeder the Aga Khan, has now improved his record to six wins from eight starts.  Behkabad is by Cape Cross out of Behkara, by Kris.