Thundering Blue added to Juddmonte International mix at York Ebor Festival

Thundering Blue wins well at York
Thundering Blue wins well at York

Connections of Thundering Blue have taken the plunge and supplemented the grey for the Juddmonte International Stakes at York on Wednesday.

Trainer David Menuisier and owner Clive Washbourn were persuaded to add the five-year-old grey to the field for the extended 10-furlong Group One at a cost of £75,000 on the back of his victory in the York Stakes over the course and distance last month.

That was his first attempt in Group Two company after being campaigned in handicaps and Menuisier believes Thundering Blue will not be out of place in this star-studded line-up.

Thundering Blue is a 25/1 chance with Sky Bet, whose market is headed by Poet's Word at 15/8.

"The main reason is he is a course and distance winner, a Group Two winner and he deserves to step into Group One company," said the Pulborough handler.

"It's a horse race and hopefully he'll run a good race."

The 11 horses that stood their ground at the confirmation stage are headed by Sir Michael Stoute's Poet's Word, who is seeking his third Group One success of the summer after the Prince Of Wales's Stakes and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

John Gosden will wait to see what the weather does before deciding which of his three stable stars will take their chance.

The Clarehaven handler is in the envious position of being able to choose between Eclipse winner Roaring Lion, last year's Champion Stakes winner Cracksman and St James's Palace Stakes scorer Without Parole.

However, it is highly unlikely both Cracksman and Without Parole will both run with the former wanting a bit of cut in the ground while the latter needs it quick.

"It's very much ground dependent. I'll just leave them in the race and then we'll just see what the weather does," said Gosden.

"Anything can happen this time of year - you can get thunderstorms. So let's just assess it - we'll probably have to go quite close to the race to work it out. Roaring Lion is in good form. He did a public workout at the July Course on Saturday. We are happy with him going into the race.

"We've finally had some rain here at Newmarket and Cracksman worked nicely on the Limekilns (on Wednesday), just getting his toe in which he appreciates.

"Without Parole did a breeze. Obviously the Sussex Stakes (lost his unbeaten record) was a somewhat muddling affair to say the least and we have him in mind for the race. But then he does not want to see much rain. He likes top of the ground.

"It is looking like a very interesting race. We've plenty of respect for the opposition. Saxon Warrior and Roaring Lion have met before, bringing the three-year-old form there and then you've got some very good, rock-solid older horse form."

Joseph O'Brien has left in Irish Derby winner Latrobe, who also holds an entry in the Great Voltigeur Stakes.

His father, Aidan, has 2000 Guineas victor Saxon Warrior and the three-year-old filly Magical, a Group Two winner at the Curragh last month.

Saeed bin Suroor is double-handed with last month's German Group One scorer Benbatl and Thunder Snow, winner of the Dubai World Cup on his last start in March.

Addeybb, trained by William Haggas, is the other possible.

Poet's Word is on course for the big race in Ireland
Poet's Word is on course for the big race at York

Stoute said of market leader Poet's Word: “The plan is to bring Poet’s Word for the Juddmonte. His work has been very satisfactory. He seems in good shape and we’re looking forward to bringing him up to York.

“He has done his main work now. He’ll just need one more piece."

Poet’s Word began his four-year-old campaign in handicap company at Chelmsford. In the sixteen months since then he has gradually risen through the ranks, flourishing under Stoute’s expert and patient handling.

Newmarket-based Stoute explained that the son of Poet’s Voice is straightforward to train and has no concerns about asking him to revert to a shorter trip next week at York.

The master of Freemason Lodge said: “He has won Group 1s at both distances so he seems to be an all-rounder. He is a very sound horse with a good mind. So he is an easy horse to train and the owner has let me bring him along quietly, which has suited him. So it has all fallen into place until now."

Stoute plans to bring the beautifully-bred Sun Maiden for the British EBF and Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes, a Listed race staged next Thursday over 12 furlongs.

The Frankel filly won by 12 lengths at Salisbury on her second start and then followed up with a third-placed finish in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot. On the face of it she appeared disappointing on her latest start at The Qatar Goodwood Festival but Stoute explained there was a reason for that.

He said: “She ran very flat at Goodwood and we think she was in season. She seems great again now, so let’s hope she hope she returns to the form of the Ribblesdale and Salisbury.

Stoute also expects to bring Melting Dew for the Sky Bet Handicap next Friday and the progressive Mekong for the Sky Bet Melrose Handicap on the following afternoon.

He added: "I wish I had about 12 to bring. I love the meeting and I love York. We’re great supporters."


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