High Noon for Midday Rivals as Cecil Lands Sixth Nassau
1 (7) Midday 11/2
Henry Cecil trained his sixth Blue Square Nassau Stakes victress when Midday romped home from nine rivals in the Group One event, including the favourite and runner-up Rainbow View and Moneycantbuymelove who took third.
A legend of the turf, the Newmarket-based Cecil admitted he is still vulnerable to the demands of racing when saying: “I felt sick before the race, but I feel much better now.”
Midday, who finished second and third behind Sariska in the Investec and Irish Oaks, was ridden by jockey Tom Queally, who wore the colours of the filly’s owner/breeder, Prince Khalid Abdulla. Commenting on the Irish Oaks defeat, Queally said: “English soft ground and Irish soft ground are two different things, and she hated the going over there.”
Cecil confirmed that view, when he said: “She has worked well on good to soft, but when she went to the Curragh she just couldn’t go on it. I took a chance today and I couldn’t bear to watch the race. She has a great attitude but is not quite so good when you come to saddle her.
“I was dreading ringing Prince Khalid and saying, ‘Sorry Sir, I did the wrong thing,’ but I heard people shouting for Midday and saying ‘C’mon Midday’ and I knew she was going well.
“She hates soft ground and I was thinking of pulling her out today, but they are going through the ground and the times could be worse. She was only just beaten in the [Investec] Oaks so this is a bit of consolation. She was spot on for that race and she was good again today - maybe ten furlongs could be her best trip.”
Cecil is aware that Sariska is the best filly in training, and that she is being aimed for the Group One Yorkshire Oaks. With that in mind when asked about plans for Midday, he said: “She could go for the Prix de l’Opera [at Longchamp] or for the Yorkshire Oaks - that race could come a bit soon, but second prize is worth £60,000 which is more than you get for going to Folkestone.
“Tom is riding very well and he’s a nice person to work with. We discussed the race beforehand and he did everything right.”
Queally added: “She did well and has battled. Henry (Cecil) stuck his neck out and said he wanted to run Midday. We just didn’t want to break her heart again.”
NO POT OF GOLD FOR RAINBOW BUT MONEY PROVES HER GROUP ONE WORTH
Rainbow View, last season’s champion juvenile filly, ran another solid race in defeat when finding only Oaks runner-up Midday her superior in the Blue Square Nassau Stakes.
John Gosden’s charge, backed down to 5/2 favourite for the extended nine-furlong Group One contest, ran on dourly through the wet conditions to finish two and a quarter lengths behind the winner.
The Newmarket handler said: “That was a good solid run and I’m happy with her. She had no chance with the winner, who was simply better. The three-year-olds have done well, filling the first three places against the older horses.
“We’ll keep going at a mile or 10 furlongs. I wouldn’t see her going further than that.”
Michael Bell was delighted with 17/2 shot Moneycantbuymelove who progressed from winning the Listed Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot to clinch third spot, half a length behind Rainbow View.
The trainer was doubly pleased as Midday’s victory enhanced the form of his English and Irish Oaks heroine, Sariska.
He said: “That was an excellent run. She is a fast-improving filly and there could be a bit more still to come. She has proven that she can perform well at Group One level.
“In one sense, I’m delighted to see Midday win because that franks the form with Sariska.”
Moneycantbuymelove could well be on her travels now with a Grade One contest in Canada being considered.
He added: “I don’t know where we go next with her but we could look at the EP Taylor Stakes at Woodbine.”
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