Benefiting from a strong ride by Jimmy Fortune, Dar Re Mitook command within the final furlong and easily held off heavily favored Sariska to win the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) Aug. 20.
Facing older fillies and mares for the first time, 3-year-old Sariska was looking to add the Yorkshire Oaks to her earlier tallies in both the Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I) and Investec Oaks (Eng-I).
Dar Re Mi, a 4-year-old daughter of champion Singspiel, became a group I winner in her last start, notching a nose victory in the Audi Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-I) at the Curragh in June.
In the Yorkshire Oaks, Sariska broke a bit tardily from the gate under Jamie Spencer and was settled into fifth, tracking Dar Re Mi, as Barshiba set a moderate pace on the front end.
The order remained unchanged throughout the first mile of the 12-furlong contest, as both Dar Re Mi and Sariska were content to track Barshiba. The complexion of the race began to change three furlongs out, as Roman Empress took over the lead from a tiring Barshiba.
Both Sariska and Dar Re Mi appeared to be traveling comfortably at this stage, but it was Dar Re Mi who got the jump on her younger rival, quickening her stride and overtaking Roman Empress within the final furlong.
Spencer was hard at work aboard Sariska, but the pair could never get on even terms with Dar Re Mi, falling three-quarters of a length short at the wire.
Roman Empress ran on for third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Sariska. Final time for the 12 furlongs was 2:30.98 over a course listed as good to firm.
A philosophical Jamie Spencer said after the race, “We got beat; she wasn’t fast enough on the day, no excuses. You come here, you do your best, but she ran into a good horse.”
Winning conditioner John Gosden told reporters, “The older filly has beaten the younger filly. We’re giving her 10 pounds but it’s the first time Sariska has met older fillies, and let’s be honest, if we’re not in the race she’s the winner of three Oaks in a row.”
Gosden continued, “We’re going for the Prix Vermeille (Fr-I), and if she runs a big one there, we’ll think about something mad like the Arc.”
Dar Re Mi was bred in England by her owner, Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Watership Down Stud. She is out of the Top Ville mare, Darara, winner of the 1986 Prix Vermeille.
Darara, a half-sister to champion and top sire Darshaan, has also produced champions and/or group I winners Dariyoun (champion in Spain), Darazari (Aus-I), and Diaghilev (champion in HK, HK-I).