A Knavesmire epic, as Warm Heart takes Yorkshire Oaks glory

Warm Heart toughed it out to take the Pertemps Network Yorkshire Oaks for Aidan O’Brien in a thrilling finish from Free Wind.

The James Doyle-ridden 9-1 winner was the second string for Ballydoyle, with her Irish Oaks-winning stablemate Savethelastdance the 100-30 favourite under Ryan Moore.

The latter made the running, as Warm Heart travelled patiently in mid-division, eventually making her move around the final bend and smoothly gaining all the way up the home straight.

John and Thady Gosden’s Free Wind had to wait for a gap before going with her and the two battled all the way to the line, with Warm Heart just getting the verdict by a head from Frankie Dettori’s mount. Savethelastdance was another two lengths back in third.

O’Brien said: “She’s a very good filly who won very well in Ascot (Ribblesdale Stakes) and then the last day (fifth to Savethelastdance at the Curragh) she just got back in a slowly-run race and it was hard to make up ground.

“She loves fast ground and she’s a very slick filly. I think she’s probably made for the Filly And Mare Turf (at the Breeders’ Cup). She’s a nice size to her and she’s strong and has tactical speed as well.

“She could go straight there or she could run on Irish Champions Weekend or Arc weekend, but she likes nice ground and maybe we shouldn’t overface her.

“It’s possible (she could stay in training next year). The lads do keep horses in training as four-year-olds including fillies, so I’d say they’ll definitely think about it at the end of the year. She’s progressing from run to run.”

Of Savethelastdance, he added: “Ryan wanted an even pace for his filly as she stays well. When the ground gets slow it helps her as it makes it tougher for the others, but she still ran a great race.

“We were worried about the ground for her today. She always runs her race, but she’s better on soft ground. Whereas most horses struggle, she improves.

“She definitely could be an Arc filly, as on softish ground she grows another leg. She has the choice of the St Leger or the Arc. If she ran in the St Leger the Arc comes up two weeks after that, so it’s a little bit tight and she’d probably have to do one or the other.

“We’ll probably give her an easy time now and see. We always felt she could be a filly for the Arc, especially if the ground got soft.”

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