Ulysses wins epic Juddmonte International at York

Ulysses (noseband) sees off Churchill and Barney Roy
Ulysses (noseband) sees off Churchill and Barney Roy

Ulysses (4/1) showed he is getting better with age as he put his younger rivals in the shade in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

Seven top-class runners went to post for the 10 furlong Group One and it was the Eclipse winner, Ulysses, who came out on top.

Churchill jumped well but was keen to allow stablemate Cliffs Of Moher to go on and he was soon joined by Barney Roy as James Doyle decided it was best to go forwards rather than be trapped wide.

The order remained the same until deep into the straight with Decorated Knight and Ulysses tracking the trio.

Cliffs Of Moher was the first to crack while stablemate Churchill appeared to run in snatches a little in the straight but Champion Jockey Jim Crowley was oozing confidence just in behind the leaders in the centre of the track.

The Galileo colt picked up well when asked to go and win his race and although Barney Roy, second to the winner at Sandown, and Churchill attempted to fight back, he was always doing enough and had two lengths in hand at the line.

Crowley said: "He seems to like being ridden with confidence. He is improving and today is the best feel I have got off him to be honest and he seems to be getting better and better.

"I always had plenty of horse. Today he relaxed so nicely and he just lobbed round. When I got there he got there quite soon, I just had to nurse him along to make sure he got there.

"This horse is improving all the time and when the rain came this morning I knew after Ascot it wouldn't be a problem. I think he is one of those that only does as much as he has to, not in a bad way, but like I said he is a great ride to pick up and I am grateful to be riding him.

"These are the races when you are champion you want to be winning."

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Sir Michael Stoute, who was winning the race for a record sixth time, confirmed that the remainder of Ulysses' season would be geared around a return to America for the Breeders' Cup.

"It all just went so smoothly and there was never a blip. I think it was his best performance to date," said the veteran handler.

"York is a different track to Sandown, it's so level, and I never had any worries the way he was travelling.

"I think it's time to give him a break and work backwards from the Breeders' Cup Turf. The owners are keen to go for that. We'll go home and work it out."

Ulysses is now Sky Bet's 5/2 favourite for the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Comparing Ulysses to some of his previous winners of the race, Stoute said: "He is taking his races so well, he's got everything.

"I think he is as good at 12 furlongs, don't forget the King George was run in a swamp, it wasn't ideal conditions for him.

"Today's performance would put him up there, if not in front of them."

Churchill is Sky Bet's 5/2 favourite for the Irish Champion Stakes and his trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "He ran very well and we are very happy with him. The ground wasn't ideal, but he still ran well."

When asked if he thought he stayed 10 furlongs, O'Brien said "He didn't wilt anyway. It was a great run for his first try at the trip. We knew conditions weren't ideal, but at least he has left Ascot behind him.

"Goodwood (withdrawn from Sussex Stakes following a downpour) messed us up really as we were ready to run there, but you can't do anything about the weather. The Irish Champion Stakes is very possible, but he would have to be very well."

Barney Roy was pushed out to 8/1 for the QIPCO Champion Stakes and trainer Richard Hannon didn't rule out a crack at 10 furlongs at Ascot.

"That was another very solid run," he said. "They took each other on a long way out and probably set it up for the winner.

"We might run him over 10 furlongs again, but a lot will depend on the ground. If it comes up soft we could go back to a mile with him. But we are certainly not ruling it out."

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