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Lion and Saxon rematch could be on in the International after controversial Coral-Eclipse

Oisin Murphy riding Roaring Lion (centre, red) edge ahead of Saxon Warrior (left) before winning the Coral-Eclipse.

Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior could clash again in the Juddmonte International at York later in the summer, as Aidan O’Brien looks to avenge his colt’s controversial defeat in the Coral-Eclipse.

Masar's withdrawal left Roaring Lion alone at the head of the betting on the morning of the Coral-Eclipse. Saxon Warrior, who had run in the Irish Derby just seven days previous, was a surprise entry when the final declarations were revealed and Donnacha O’Brien’s mount broke out of the stalls as the well-backed second favourite.

Oisin Murphy was forced to tread a wide path around the bend on Roaring Lion, with Saxon Warrior positioned nicely on the rail. Donnacha angled his mount out towards the middle of the track and made his break for home, but he was soon joined by Roaring Lion, who has cruised into contention from the rear of the field and the rivals were set for a titanic tussle for the title.

Roaring Lion got his neck in front at the two pole and it looked likely he would pull away from his rival. However, as Saxon Warrior tried to battle back, Roaring Lion drifted in towards his foe and there seemed to be some contact in the stride before the line. Roaring Lion was announced the winner, handing Oisin Murphy a first Group One on British soil, but both he and Donnacha O’Brien were soon summoned to the stewards' room.

With the ITV cameras in place, viewers witnessed both riders argue their case. Despite Donnacha seemingly presenting a viable cause for the result to be reversed, the steward’s decided the contact between the two horses was not the deciding factor in the result of the race and Roaring Lion remained the champion.

Murphy said to the press following the inquiry, “Whenever a horse shifts off a line or anything small in a race, the stewards look into it.

“My horse has caused very little interference, if any, and clearly he was the best horse in the race.”



Trainer, John Gosden was in little doubt as to which horse deserved the win and heaped praise on his jockey's shoulders.

“He rode him beautifully and very coolly,” Gosden said to ITV. “He got too far back, he knew that, and he didn’t hurry to get back. It was a very good ride and I’m thrilled.

“He deserves it (a first British Group One win). He did very well to stay as cool as he did.”

Despite suffering his third-straight defeat, Aidan O’Brien was delighted with Saxon Warrior’s run at Sandown. He spoke to AtTheRaces on Monday and said, “He seems to be in good form. He obviously hasn’t done much since Saturday.

“We’ll give him a little bit of time now and we're looking forward to training him for York and then Leopardstown [Qipco Irish Champions Stakes].”

York also looks a likely destination for Roaring Lion and he currently heads the ante-post betting for the Juddmonte International. Betfair lists the Coral-Eclipse king as the 4/1 joint-favourite, alongside Prince Of Wales’s Stakes winner Poet’s Word. Saxon Warrior and Masar sit just behind the market leaders on 5/1, with Enable and Cracksman the other entrants sitting on single-figure prices.

After securing his second-straight victory on firm ground, connections identified the Breeders’ Cup Turf as an end-of-season target for Roaring Lion. John Gosden’s charge sits atop the market for that American Classic on a price of 5/1 with Ladbrokes, with home-favourite and defending champion, Talismanic also sharing that same odds.

*Juddmonte International Stakes (24/8/18) betting with Betfair*
4/1 Roaring Lion, Poet's Word, 5/1 Saxon Warrior, Masar, 6/1 Enable, 8/1 Cracksman, 10/1 Bar

*Breeder's Cup Turf (3/11/18) betting with Ladbrokes*
5/1 Roaring Lion, Talismanic, 7/1 Masar, Poet's Word, Saxon Warrior, 8/1 Crystal Ocean, 9/1 Cracksman, 10/1 Bar

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Lion and Saxon rematch could be on in the International after controversial Coral-Eclipse

Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior could clash again in the Juddmonte International at York later in the summer on Friday 24th August, as Aidan O’Brien looks to avenge his colt’s controversial defeat in the Coral-Eclipse.

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