While the Ebor Festival signifies that the flat season is winding down, the Juddmonte International Stakes is the jewel in York’s crown.
The ten-furlong race has boasted some wickedly impressive winners in the past – none moreso than Frankel back in 2012. His seven-length rout of 122-rated Farhh was spectacular, on a course that brings the best out of pure speed.
This year’s field may be small in size, but it is packed with equine brilliance.
Barney Roy is prominent in the betting and justifiably so. The Eclipse gives us a formline worth noting, and while he was beaten by a nose around Sandown, I’m not quite sure the result would have been the same had they gone another few strides.
The Juddmonte is 98 yards further than the Eclipse, and the track has far fewer undulations – which may suit the three-year-old. Ulysses himself folded in the King George over twelve furlongs – although I’ve a suspicion that four-and-a-half lengths to John Gosden’s Enable will be considered sensational form by the time the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is over with.
Churchill lands here via the ever-powerful Aidan O’Brien.
His Galileo pedigree means he’s bred to stay this trip comfortably, but with that unproven, he’s plenty short enough – despite the fact he’s bagged the 2,000 Guineas as well as the Irish variation of the same.
Doyle was at Windsor on Monday, and he actually spoke about the fact Barney Roy was an unlucky loser of the 2,000 Guineas – stating that Churchill had everything go for him, while the son of Excelebration found traffic in the centre of the track.
The Eclipse form is your friend here – and because of that, it’s hard to make a case for Cliffs of Moher who clearly wants further.
While the three-parts-of-a-length second to Wings of Eagles in the Derby can’t have its merits fully examined, the race itself has seen the form fall apart.
Capri and Cracksman took each other on and finished the 1-2 in the Irish Derby. Waldgeist was behind them, but his second to Brametot has since been undone by the latter’s failure to land a Group 3 in Deauville – a race won by Eminent.
Regardless, none of them have the toe possessed by the first two home in the Eclipse.
Shutter Speed is the interesting one. Although official ratings only put the daughter of Dansili at 109, she’s unexposed and has won over this course and distance back in May. The form of that race isn’t great – with Vintage Folly (102) well held in a Group 2 in Saint-Cloud.
It’s hard to make a case for Decorated Knight. He’s now five and further improvement on his Eclipse run seems unlikely. My Dream Boat was thirteen lengths behind Ulysses in the King George, so he’s easily passed over.
With all that information, I think it’s hard to see BARNEY ROY being beaten. The extra yardage likely would have seen him get the better of Ulysses in the Eclipse, and with Ballydoyle not possessing a ten-furlong specialist, the honours should fall to the colt that broke the Ascot track record over a mile, for Richard Hannon and Godolphin.