THUNDERING Blue has today been supplemented for next Wednesday’s Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York.
Winner of last month’s Sky Bet York Stakes over course and distance, he joins ten other horses that stood their ground at the latest entry point for the £1million feature of the opening day of The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
That 10 are headed by Poet’s Word who has starred this summer, winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and then returning to the Berkshire track to land the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, last month.
In achieving that double the Sir Michael Stoute-trained five-year-old underlined his versatility as the victories came over distances of 10 and 12 furlongs.
Owned by Saeed Suhail, Poet’s Word, will be asked to race over the shorter of those two distances when running the mile and a quarter of his York assignment.
Often a meeting of the generations, crack three-year-olds Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior are leading opponents; the former also successful over course and distance in the Group Two Dante Stakes.
As you'd expect for a race that is part of the Qipco backed, British Champions Series, a clutch of other top names remain in the race.
Stoute said: “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.”
The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs for four days: from Wednesday, August 22 to Saturday, August 25.