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Yorkshire Oaks crown snatched by French filly Shareta at York Racecourse
11:20am Friday 24th August 2012 in Sport
SHARETA swooped late to take the Darley Yorkshire Oaks crown across the Channel to France.
The four-year-old (2-1), trained by Alain de Royer Dupre and ridden by Christophe Lemaire, came out on top following an exhilarating battle with The Fugue down the Knavesmire straight.
The latter had looked the more likely to prevail, under jockey William Buick, having broken clear inside the final couple of furlongs.
But, in driving rain, the line couldn’t come soon enough for the three-year-old, trained by John Gosden, who was back at York following The Fugue’s win in the Musidora Stakes in May.
Concerns over her stamina looked well founded close to the line as she wandered slightly across the track.
And it was the charging Shareta, who made the early running with the Epsom Oaks winner Was in the mile-and-a-half contest, who came home strongly on the stand-side rail to claim her first Group 1 victory and the lion’s share of the £310,000 prize pot.
Second in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last year, the four-year-old is now as short as 16-1 with bookmakers to go one better at Longchamp in October.
Lemaire said: “I gave her a chance to press, it’s a very long straight at York. After that, she was a very tough filly and she has a lot of stamina. At the two-furlong marker she responded very well.
“She stays very well and she kept on galloping the whole way. When we went head to head (with The Fugue), I knew my filly wouldn’t stop so I kept urging her on. I was sure she’d give me 100 per cent and she did.”
On another tilt at the Arc, Lemaire added: “She has a lot of ability so in a race with a lot of pace she’s able to get the trip very well. Why not try again?”
But de Royer Dupre said the Prix Vermeille may be a more likely target.
“We came (to York) because the filly was in very good condition and because this is a marvellous track,” he said. “Many times in France the straight is much too short and she doesn’t have the time to show what she can do.
“At York, she could continue. She was very strong. We have the Prix Vermeille to think of.
“Sometimes the Arc is run on very soft ground and she doesn’t like it too soft.”