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Sunday 23 September 2018

Haggas bowled over by Class win

QUALITY: Sea Of Class on the way to winning the Darley Yorkshire Oaks. Photo: PA Wire
QUALITY: Sea Of Class on the way to winning the Darley Yorkshire Oaks. Photo: PA Wire

William Haggas could barely comprehend Sea Of Class's performance in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks.

The 7-4 favourite looked by far the best horse in a strong field, and glided with silk-smooth panache into the lead inside the final furlong.

Two and a quarter lengths was the official winning distance, but James Doyle could have easily extended that advantage had he wished.

Last month's extraordinary Irish Oaks heroine is now the general 9-2 favourite about winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, for which she will need to be supplemented.

Haggas said: "You always hope they are going to do something like that, but she really was impressive.

Mick O'Toole. Photo: Sportsfile
Mick O'Toole. Photo: Sportsfile

"She's not in the Arc yet and I stress it is a 'yet'. There's a lot of water to pass under the bridge, but I imagine Mrs (Ling) Tsui (owner) will be keen to pay the supplementary fee.

"The plan is to keep her in training next season, but if she won everything this year then it might be different."

Lah Ti Dar later shot to favouritism for the William Hill St Leger at Doncaster after she cut loose on her return to action in the Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes.

Trainer John Gosden said of the 4-6 favourite: "She was very ill and very down with herself with a virus, but she's come back in great order."

Aidan O'Brien is optimistic the Ballydoyle blues have also been banished after Fairyland won the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes.

O'Brien's summer has been disrupted by a well-documented virus that has affected most of his runners.

But the Tipperary handler believes his team "are at the other side" - and judged by Fairyland's performance it is hard to argue.

The daughter of Kodiac showed laudable grit to get back on top by a nose from The Mackem Bullet. She will now head for the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

O'Brien said: "It (virus) was as bad as we've had at Ballydoyle.

"They seem to be coming back now. The year is not over yet, but if there is a relapse the season is over."

Mick O'Toole died yesterday at the age of 86.

O'Toole (inset) trained Davy Lad to win the 1977 Cheltenham Gold Cup and also enjoyed big race success on the Flat with Dickens Hill winning the 2,000 Guineas in 1979.

One of the most popular figures in Irish racing, O'Toole is survived by his wife Una, daughter Mags and son Ciaran.

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