Juddmonte International tips – Ante-post preview of York’s Wednesday Group One highlight
We look over the Group One feature race on the first day of the York Ebor Festival and give our ante-post Juddmonte International tips as we assess some of the likely runners in the Wednesday showpiece on the Knavesmire.
Day one of York’s Ebor Festival fixture is dominated by the Group One Juddmonte International which takes place next Wednesday over a ten furlongs trip and a strong field is sure to assemble for the valuable contest which has been won in the past by the likes of Roaring Lion, Postponed Frankel, Rip Van Winkle and Sea The Stars in recent seasons.
Spearheading a quality first day racecard that also includes the likes of the Great Voltigeur Stakes and the Acomb Stakes we give our ante-post Juddmonte International tips as we take a look at some of the potential runners in the day one feature.
ANTE-POST JUDDMONTE INTERNATIONAL TIPS – YORK EBOR FESTIVAL DAY ONE
Has turned into a top-class performer, winning his last three which includes both the rescheduled Coronation Cup and the Coral Eclipse Stakes, beating Enable in the process.
Charlie Appleby’s Dubawi entire also won a German Group One contest over a longer trip last term but floundered in the mud in the Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe on his final start of the campaign. But he’s shown what he can do in no uncertain terms when faced with a better surface, making all to post three impressive success including that latest Sandown success where he held off Enable and Japan.
The Godolphin runner was possibly flattered by that performance given Enable was making her return to action while he had had a previous run and his fitness might have won the day. Nevertheless it was an impressive outing from the Dubawi horse who might prove hard to peg back here and he boasts a favourites’ chance of adding another Group One win to his record.
Proved hugely progressive last term following a gelding operation, winning twice and finishing runner-up twice albeit in handicaps and Listed company. One of those wins came in a competitive Cambridgeshire Handicap however and he rounded off the season winning the Listed Jane Seymour Stakes.
John Gosden’s has taken his form up a level this campaign, beating Elarqam in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes on his first try in Group company and then showing further improvement to readily beat Addeybb and others to win the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes by almost four lengths.
That performance suggested the Dubawi gelding still had scope for better despite it possibly being a relatively weak Group One and he’s dangerous to discount with the potential for further improvement and he’ll likely have the race run to suit if lining up here as opposed the weekend’s Irish Champion stakes.
Aidan O’Brien’s top-class mare has won four of her last five starts – all Group Ones – with her sole defeat in that run coming in the Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe where the Galileo mare finished fifth behind Waldgeist.
The very soft ground that day was probably against her, but she’s since shown what she can do when the conditions are less testing in beating Addeybb at Ascot on British Champions Day to lift the Qipco Champions Stakes; while she is 2-2 this term scoring both wins at the Curragh and latterly taking the Tattersalls Gold Cup in impressive fashion.
She appears to be getting better and better with age, barely extended in that latest outing where she made all and readily asserted to score easier than the official margin might suggest. It was a relatively weak Group One, but she could do no more than win and she’ll remain competitive although unlikely to get her own way up front with Ghaiyyath in opposition.
There’s no need for her to force the pace however and she can equally take a lead so she looks to hold solid claims if turning out although she holds engagements in Ireland at the weekend and O’Brien may opt to keep her in Ireland.
Qipco 2000 Guineas winner has run better in defeat the last twice than his form figures suggest and if taking his chance then the Kitten’s Joy colt would have to be respected although his participation is in doubt with a possible engagement in France at the weekend also touted for Andrew Balding’s star.
Fourth in the Epsom Derby where his stamina was perhaps stretched, he tanked his way through the Sussex Stakes during Glorious Goodwood recently but having found himself trapped against the rails and unable to deliver a challenge he has to be considered a shade unlucky despite the performance of the eventual winner.
Once clear of trouble he was hampered again towards the finish and his finishing position of fourth was perhaps unfair and he’d surely have finished a lot closer with a clearer passage.
There’s a hint of unfinished business about him as a result and while he would be stepping up in trip for this contest he shapes as though the extra yardage would be no problem and he was still travelling strongly at the end at Goodwood despite being repeatedly denied a run.
Three-year olds have a very good recent record in the race having won four of the last six renewals and if taking his chance he looks sure to post a big effort if not inconvenienced by the longer trip.
Got off the mark in heavy ground on his third starts as a juvenile last campaign and made his return to action in February following a break, taking in an Emirates assignment with a run in the Samba Saudi Derby where he finished runner-up.
John Gosden ‘s Make Believe colt had a further three months’ break following that run and having been stepped up to the International Stakes trip ahead of his return at Newmarket in June he has won both starts which include a French Group One latest where he was impressive in dispatching The Summit by two lengths.
The likes of high-class Victor Ludorum, Pao Alto and Ocean Atlantique were all left in the wake of the Gosden runner who could take another step up the ladder and he’s clearly a high-class prospect who could have significant improvement to come.
He would be stepping into open company and taking on his elders for the first time should he line up at York; but trainer John Gosden isn’t one to over-face his runners and his potential presence in the line-up is noteworthy.
While he would have to find a good bit more improvement taking on Ghaiyyath and stablemate Lord North it would be no surprise to see him progress again and he can certainly make his mark.
French raider who got back on the winning trail when winning the Prix du Muguet at Saint Cloud in June and then followed up back in Group One company to readily see off Stormy Antarctic in the Prix d’Ispahan latest.
Andre Fabre’s charge was winning a second Group One having taken the French 2000 Guineas last term and was subsequently only beaten by Sottsass in the French Derby prior to being absent for more than a year having suffered a set-back.
He’s made up for lost time however and the Kingman colt would be a danger to all if taking his chance where he’d be worth another chance at this longer trip although his bare form would probably needs to be improved upon.
Won this race twelve months ago, beating Crystal Ocean and allaying fears the drop in trip would prove too sharp having won over further in previous starts.
Aidan O’Brien’s Galileo colt then finished a good fourth in the Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe although this years’ efforts have been a shade underwhelming with defeats behind Lord North and Ghaiyyath prior to disappointing in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes where he finished last of three runners behind Enable.
That poor run was attributed to a stone bruise and he’s better than he was able to show on that occasion. However he had appeared to have been beaten on merit in the Coral Eclipse Stakes behind Ghaiyyath and he would have work to do to reverse Sandown form if he turns out in defence of his crown.
JUDDMONTE INTERNATIONAL TIPS – BIG-RACE VERDICT
Depending on events in Ireland and France respectively this coming weekend, Wednesday’s showpiece Group One could well cut up with the likes of Magical and Kameko both potentially taking in other targets.
Defending champion Japan would be dangerous to discount if coming back to his best, while Ghaiyyath boasts a favourite’s chance on the back of three successive wins.
Should Magical also turn out in addition to Godolphin’s front-runner then a strong pace will likely play to the strengths of LORD NORTH and John Gosden’s charge gets an early vote of confidence in hope he turns out at York rather than Ireland where he holds an entry in the Irish Champion Stakes.
The Dubawi gelding has gone from strength to strength since winning last season’s Cambridgeshire, winning the Brigadier Gerard Stakes on his reappearance and then making a Group One breakthrough at Ascot with victory in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes where Japan was only fourth.
He has the potential to improve significantly and he gave the impression his progress hadn’t yet peaked so there’s every chance he has an even bigger performance to come.