Queens of the Turf

In Goldikova and Midday, European racing has two mares to savour

In French eyes, there’s only one Queen of the Turf

Racing within the last week provided two more fine examples of the wisdom of keeping older mares in training.

At Glorious Goodwood, Midday made history by becoming the first mare to win three consecutive Nassau Stakes, while in France, Goldikova landed her fourth Prix Rothschild. This took her tally of Group/Grade 1 wins to a record-breaking 14.

In 20 starts, five-year-old Midday has only once finished out of the money, on her debut in a maiden during the Glorious Goodwood meeting of 2008. A year and a day later she was back at the Sussex track to record the first of her Nassau victories, beating Rainbow View by two and a quarter lengths. Last year’s win saw her take the scalp of the talented French filly Stacelita, while this year’s victims included dual Oaks winner Snow Fairy and Crystal Capella.

While her stablemate and fellow Juddmonte colour-bearer Frankel may have been the main talking point of Glorious Goodwood 2011, the valiant Midday, now with nine wins to her name – including six at Group 1 level – commands the greatest respect. Her pedigree represents the very best of the Juddmonte bloodlines: she is by Banstead Manor Stud’s homebred stallion Oasis Dream out of Midsummer, a Listed-placed half-sister to Oaks winner Reams Of Verse and Eclipse winner Elmaamul.

There’s little left to say about the Queen of the European Turf, Goldikova. Her fan club, spelling out ‘La Reine Goldikova’ letter by letter on rugby shirts at the trackside, was out in force once again in Deauville.

She too has only once finished out of the prize-money in 24 starts, 17 of which have ended in glory. Following Sunday’s win, her earnings now top £4 million. Her fourth Prix Rothschild (formerly the Prix d’Astarte) is now safely in the bag and a fourth Breeders’ Cup tilt beckons. But tantalisingly, before the six-year-old heads back to America, her trainer Freddy Head has hinted that she may yet take on the unbeaten Frankel at Ascot in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

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