THIS year’s renewal of the Juddmonte International, one of the hottest tickets in Europe, is an absolute cracker, with ROARING LION (3.35) fancied to follow up his ultra-game Coral-Eclipse Stakes verdict over Saxon Warrior when not well positioned racing off the home bend.
Course form is often vital at York and Roaring Lion’s emphatic Dante Stakes success stands him in good stead.
John Gosden also saddles Royal Ascot winner Without Parole, the mount of Frankie Dettori, and the faster the ground the better for his three-year-old star.
Sir Michael Stoute is represented by King George hero Poet’s Word and his five-year-old has already taken the notable scalps of Cracksman and Crystal Ocean during a scintillating summer campaign. He has every chance of completing a four-timer and rates the main danger.
Saxon Warrior, brilliant winner of the Qipco 2000 Guineas, hasn’t subsequently quite reached those giddy heights but this 1m2f trip on fast ground is probably right up his street. The form of the Aidan O’Brien horses remains a concern.
Saeed Bin Suroor is doubly represented by Thunder Snow and Benbatl, no back numbers even in this exalted company, while Joseph O’Brien sends over his Irish Derby hero Latrobe. Sit back and enjoy.
EL ASTRONAUTE (1.55) runs the Knavesmire very well and is only 3lb higher than when beating Dark Shot over course and distance in May. John Quinn’s gelding has run several terrific races in defeat since then, most recently when fourth to Tis Marvellous at Ascot. Back at York, with 3lb claimer Rossa Ryan on top, El Astronaute can capitalise on a promising draw in stall 18.
WATAN (2.25) still showed signs of greenness when making a winning debut at Goodwood and is fancied to land the Acombe Stakes. Richard Hannon’s colt looks the type to benefit from a step up in distance on this quicker surface.
CROSS COUNTER (3.00) graduated from handicap company in some style when thumping Dee Ex Bee in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood and may be capable of taking another step forward in the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes.
Kew Gardens, winner of a Group 1 in France on the back of his wide-margin victory in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, sets a high standard but Aidan O’Brien’s raiders are struggling of late to hit the target.
Last year’s Acombe winner Wells Farhh Go has ground to make up on King Edward VII Stakes winner Old Persian but clearly goes very well at York. Tim Easterby’s colt is the each-way option.