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What Next for Sariska After York Refusal?

The Yorkshire Oaks is one of the feature races of the four day long York Ebor meeting but the 2010 renewal of the race was thrown in to disarray as favourite to win the Group One, Sariska, refused to leave the stalls. Race goers at both York’s Knavesmire and those watching at home on TV witnessed amazing scenes as the Michael Bell trained four year old, who was 2/1 to win the race, stood motionless in stall three as her seven rivals jumped away. The first time in the four year old filly’s ten race career that she had dug her heels in!

Sariska edges out Midday in a thrilling finish.
2009 Investec Epsom Oaks


The look on the face of Sariska’s jockey, Jamie Spencer, summed up how the thousands who had backed the four times Group winner must have been feeling as the race unfolded. True to form, it was second and third favourites, Snow Fairy and Midday respectively, who fought out the finish with Henry Cecil’s Midday managing to secure her fourth Group One win. However, on the three previous occasions that Sariska and Midday have come up against each other, it has been Sariska who has emerged victorious, only adding to the frustrations of her fans who must’ve been asking, ‘would it have been four from four?’, in spite of Midday’s impressive performance. Luckily for those who backed Sariska with Paddy Power, Boylesports or Skybet, they got their money back, which is worth bearing in mind if you plan to back her next time out.

Sariska’s antics in the Yorkshire Oaks now throw any future plans for the daughter of Pivotal in to major doubt. As a proven Group One performer over middle distances, her engagements saw her on track to run in either the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday 3rd October or the Champion Stakes at Newmarket on 16th October, both of which would see her bid to win her first race against Colts and Geldings.

Her odds to win the Arc doubled from 10/1 to 20/1 following her refusal to race at York, a price that some shrewder punters may be happy to take advantage of in the hope that her behaviour isn’t repeated at Longchamp. To put the odds in to perspective, the current favourite in the bookmakers odds to win the Arc is the Aidan O’Brien trained Fame and Glory at around 3/1, who Sariska finished just 1 ½ lengths behind in second, the last time she completed a race which was the Coronation Cup in June. That performance at Epsom was on good ground and with history suggesting that the going at the Paris track likely to have a bit of give in it, which would play to Sariska’s advantage, it is hard to justify why there is a 17 point swing in the betting between the two leading only to the conclusion that Sariska is currently overpriced for the Arc, providing she jumps away with the rest of the field!

Whether Michael Bell and owner, Lady Bamford, decide to run Sariska soon remains to be seen; she will still be fresh after no race exertions at York but a tilt at the Arc remains very much on the cards in what looks to be a very open renewal of Europe’s most prestigious race and if she can land the £2.2 million first prize, all will be forgiven by connections and fans alike for her York exploits!

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