08/18/2011 3:21PM

Favorite's withdrawal makes Blue Bunting's job easier in Yorkshire Oaks.


Blue Bunting won her third Group 1 race of 2011 on Thursday at York, defeating Vita Nova by three-quarters of a length in the Yorkshire Oaks.

Blue Bunting’s task was made easier by the withdrawal of early favorite Snow Fairy from the race. Snow Fairy’s trainer, Ed Dunlop, was said to be unhappy with the soft course condition at York, and instead plans to start Snow Fairy on Sunday in the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville in France.

Blue Bunting, now five times a winner in seven career starts for Godolphin Racing, settled near the back of the eight-horse field as Rumh, another Godolphin filly, set the pace. Jockey Frankie Dettori let his mount begin to move up three furlongs from home. She launched a serious bid a quarter-mile out, and before the furlong marker, Blue Bunting had taken the lead. She held well over the Henry Cecil-trained Vita Nova, with Wonder of Wonders another 3 3/4 lengths back in third. Winning time for the 1 1/2 miles on soft going was 2:25.34.

Blue Bunting, beating older horses for the first time, won the English 2000 Guineas and the Irish Oaks earlier in the year, but finished fourth in the Epsom Oaks. A daughter of Dynaformer, Blue Bunting is trained by Mahmood al Zarooni.

◗ Victoire Pisa, winner of the Dubai World Cup in March, has suffered an injury while training in France. Victoire Pisa will be sent back to Japan for further evaluation and has been taken out of consideration for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Trained by Katsuhiko Sumii, Victoire Pisa finished seventh in the 2010 Arc. He landed an emotional victory in Dubai early this past spring shortly after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and has not raced since his World Cup victory.

◗ Await the Dawn was found to have a temperature coming out of his third-place finish Wednesday at York in the Juddmonte International. Await the Dawn was favored to win the Juddmonte and had been listed as an early favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic before falling to stablemates Twice Over and Midday in the Juddmonte.

◗ Saturday’s card at the Curragh in Ireland features 2-year-olds in the Group 2 Galileo European Breeders’ Futurity Stakes, a seven-furlong race. Before the final declarations stage, trainer Aidan O’Brien had half of the 18 prospective runners in the field.