The Darley Yorkshire Oaks looks like being one of the races of the season, with three top-class fillies lining up.
This year’s English and Irish Oaks winner Snow Fairy, Sariska, who completed the same double last season, and dual Nassau Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf heroine Midday are all in the line-up.
Snow Fairy has been a revelation this season for Ed Dunlop, and with champion jockey Ryan Moore on the sidelines Richard Hughes has stepped into the breach.
Sariska suffered an odds-on reverse in the corresponding race 12 months ago, on ground deemed slightly too quick, but she has shown she is as good as ever this term.
A win over Midday in the Middleton Stakes in May and a fine second to Fame And Glory in the Coronation Cup puts her right up there with the best.
Midday had to survive a stewards’ enquiry to land back-to-back renewals of the Nassau and steps back up to a mile and a half for the first time since last year’s Irish Oaks.
The supporting cast is also chock full of classy fillies.
Godolphin’s Fillies’ Mile and Ribblesdale winner Hibaayeb will be joined be stablemate Flying Cloud, second in the Pretty Polly in June.
Sir Michael Stoute, who won four out of five renewals from 2000-2004 (Petrushka, Islington twice and Quiff) runs the improving Eleanora Duse, while David Lanigan is responsible for Epsom Oaks runner-up Meeznah, who will be ridden by Kieren Fallon.
The field is completed by the David Elsworth-trained Barshiba, the mount of championship-chasing jockey Paul Hanagan.
Dunlop is pleased to have secured the services of Hughes, who is second behind Hanagan in the jockeys’ championship .
“I am delighted to have got Hughesie to ride – he is flying and if we can’t have Ryan then who better than the man in form?,” the Newmarket trainer told his website, www.edunlop.com.