06/04/2009 11:00PM

Sariska survives inquiry


Sariska fended off Midday to capture the 231st running of the $566,000 English Oaks at Epsom on Friday, prevailing by a head as Rainbow View faded to fourth in the 1 1/2-mile classic for fillies after taking a nasty bump from the winner at the quarter pole.

Sent off as the 9-4 favorite, Sariska was always well placed by Jamie Spencer in fifth with the 3-1 Rainbow View just behind her in seventh. Sariska got first run on her rival to lead at the three-eighths pole, was strongly challenged by Tim Queally and Midday, but held on grimly for the victory. The longshot High Heeled was third, 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner, with Rainbow View beaten a total of seven lengths. The time on good ground was 2:35.28.

Trained by Michael Bell, the man who engineered Motivator's 2005 Epsom Derby triumph, Sariska survived a lengthy stewards' inquiry into the skirmishing at the quarter pole. She had signaled her readiness for the Oaks with a sharp-looking 3 3/4-length win in York's Group 3 Musidora Stakes going 1 1/4 miles, 88 yards on May 13. In victory she denied Henry Cecil, the trainer of Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Midday, his ninth English Oaks victory. By the versatile stallion Pivotal, Sariska was running for just the fourth time.

The Group 1, $364,000 Coronation Cup for older horses going 1 1/2 miles provided an even more thrilling finish as the 5-1 Ask outdueled the 2-1 Youmzain and last year's Oaks winner, the 9-2 Look Here, a nose separating each of the first three. The winning time was 2:37.00.

Trained by Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore, Ask had won the 1 3/4-mile, Group 2 Yorkshire Cup in his most recent start at York on May 15.

For the Michael Channon-trained Youmzain it was another case of seconditis, as he had filled the runner-up spot in last year's Coronation Cup behind Soldier of Fortune and has been second in the last two runnings of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Look Here, who was running for the first time since finishing third in Conduit's St. Leger Stakes on Sept. 13, did everything but win in just the fifth start of her life.

Ask, who was a nose second in the 2007 Canadian International, and Youmzain could meet again in the 1 1/2-mile King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on July 25, when Look Here might also line up after a tentative date in the 1 1/4-mile Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on July 4.