Party time for Bunting

BLUE Bunting set herself up for a potential third Classic victory in the Ladbrokes St Leger after again demonstrating an iron will to win in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks yesterday.

The filly’s appetite for a battle has underpinned her season as she scrapped out the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, and then the Irish Oaks.

She would not succumb to the lengthy attentions of Vita Nova on the Knavesmire to finish on top by three-quarters of a length.

The ultimate decision as to whether she heads to Doncaster for an attempt at a Triple Crown of sorts rests with Sheikh Mohammed, but Simon Crisford, racing manager for the Godolphin team, gave encouraging indications as to her participation.

Blue Bunting, the 11-4 favourite, has only been beaten once this term when fourth in the Investec Oaks and was taking on older fillies and mares for the first time in the showpiece of the second afternoon of the Ebor meeting.

Frankie Dettori, who was to later take a nasty kick which ruled him out of the last race, surged to the front with a couple of furlongs remaining and almost invited Tom Queally and Vita Nova to join him, seeming confident enough his mount would enjoy the challenge – and it appeared that she did.

The St Leger sponsors offer her at 6-1 behind the 6-4 favourite Sea Moon, easy winner of Tuesday’s Great Voltigeur.

“She’s such a tough filly – so resolute – and when the second came to her, Blue Bunting wasn’t having any of it,” said Crisford.

“She’s really brave and honest. She’s a fantastic filly to have won a Guineas, an Irish Oaks and a Yorkshire Oaks on different types of ground.

“I’ve just talked to his Highness Sheikh Mohammed and he said, ‘Let’s keep all the options open’.

“We’ll see how she is over the next week or so and then make a decision.

“It’s not definite that she will run in the St Leger, but it is quite possible. At this stage, we do not have any better candidates and she’d have a great chance of winning if she went there.

“I would definitely say she’d stay the trip. She wasn’t stopping today and the further she went the better she was, so I’m sure a mile and six wouldn’t be any trouble to her at all.

“She’s a true star.”

It was another terrific achievement for Godolphin’s new trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, while Dettori added: “She was in season today, so her mind wasn’t exactly on the job – she made it really hard work for me.”

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