Trainer John Gosden declared that 3YO colt Roaring Lion was "in business" after he bounded to an emphatic win in the Gr1 Juddmonte International Stakes (2000m) at York in the UK overnight. The richly talented grey showed that he had finally matured into the horse he had always promised to be when scoring a dominant 3.25 length win against a quality field that included the world's second highest rated horse and race favourite, Poet's Word. "He’s got a massive middle and has got bigger and stronger as the year has gone on. The curve was upward all the way and this is a much better horse than the one who ran at Sandown. I was expecting a big performance and we got one," Gosden told Racing Post. "This horse is the business. He’s a big-framed horse and only a three-year-old, so I see no reason that through the autumn and next year he can’t get better. The truth is they reach their absolute zenith at five if you give them the time." The Qatar Racing-owned Roaring Lion (Kitten's Joy-Vionnet, by Street Sense) advanced his record to 6 wins (including the Gr1 Eclipse Stakes & Gr2 Dante Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Epsom Derby) from 10 starts for £1,437,626 in earnings.
At Ascot racecourse in the UK, Darley's deceased Gr1-winning shuttler Poet's Voice (Dubawi-Bright Tiara, by Chief's Crown) celebrated a top-flight success when 5YO Irish-bred entire Poet's Word (Poet's Voice-Whirly Bird, by Nashwan) scored a thrilling win over his highly rated stable-mate Crystal Ocean in the Gr1 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes (12 furlongs) for 3YO+. The John Gosden-trained Coronet was third. The win provided trainer Sir Michael Stoute with a record-breaking sixth success in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Poet's Word joined the legendary Shergar (1981), Opera House (1993), Golan (2002), Conduit (2009) and Harbinger (2010) as Stoute-trained winners of the British midsummer showpiece. Stoute said it had "taken a long time" to get a sixth King George winner. "They are two such admirable horses and it's delightful to train them. I always felt he (Poet's Word) wouldn't get there until the last 100 yards or so," Stoute told Sky Sports. "It's a great mid-season race and we've been luckily enough to do well in it. It's a great team effort, you have no idea how much they put into these horses." Poet's Word advanced his record to 7 wins (including the Group 1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes, Gr3 Glorious Stakes & Gr3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes) and 6 placings (including the Gr1 Sheema Classic & Gr1 Champion Stakes) from 16 starts for £2,692,617 in earnings.
Sir Michael Stoute will attempt to claim a record-breaking sixth victory in the Group 1 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday. Stoute, who has previously won the British summer showpiece with the likes of the legendary Shergar and, most recently, the outstanding Harbinger (2010), will this year be represented by Crystal Ocean and Poet's Word in the mile-and-a-half feature. The highly regarded Crystal Ocean is undoubtedly the more favoured of the duo having won his last three outings on the trot, including a facile win in the Gr2 Hardwicke Stakes, while Poet's Word also boasts top form having landed the Group 1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot. "They both seem in good shape and their preparation has gone well. They seem in good form. Touch wood, we are happy at this stage," Stoute told Sky Sports. "Crystal Ocean is from a very good family. They are good, honest horses. I've not seen the final field yet, but he is entitled to take his chance for sure." He added: "Poet's Word has been recording high levels of form and seems versatile over 10 or 12 furlongs. His preparation has gone well and again he has won at the track." However, both Crystal Ocean and Poet's Word have a long way to go before they are held in the same regard as some of Stoute's more famous King George winners: "Shergar gave us an anxious moment - he was short of room on the turn for home - but he got out of that and still won impressively," he said, adding "Harbinger would have run to the best form figure. He was a serious machine that day...he just annihilated them." Crystal Ocean and Poet's Word share favouritism at 15-8 for the King George, ahead of Gr1 Grand Prix de Paris winner Kew Gardens (5-1) and Cracksman at 8-1.
Sir Michael Stoute says all options are on the table for surprise Group 1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes winner Poet's Word, including the Cox Plate. Stoute, who became the most successful trainer in Royal Ascot history when Poet's Word upset hot favourite Cracksman to give him his 76th winner at the Royal meeting, said the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in October was among the future targets the horse's connections would consider. "It could be the Eclipse, it could be the King George," Stoute said. "There are options for him as I think that he is equally effective at ten or twelve furlongs and there are not many that are at that level." He added: "I have yet to talk to the owner about the Cox Plate but I thank them for their invitation, but it is too early to tell, it is only June. Obviously it would be considered."
On day two of the Royal Ascot carnival in England, Darley's deceased Gr1-winning shuttler Poet's Voice (Dubawi-Bright Tiara, by Chief's Crown) celebrated his first top-flight success when 5YO Irish-bred entire Poet's Word (Poet's Voice-Whirly Bird, by Nashwan) scored a surprise 2.25 length win in the £750,000 Group 1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes (10 furlongs), defeating odds-on favourite Cracksman & Hawkbill. The victory saw trainer Sir Michael Stoute notch his 76th winner at the Royal meeting making him the most successful trainer in Royal Ascot history. "It's a relief because we were stuck on 75 winners last year. Royal Ascot is special to every trainer," Stoute told Sky Sports. "Maybe Cracksman isn't at his best now, but we beat the others comprehensively. He's a very consistent, brave horse." Poet's Word advanced his record to 6 wins (including the Gr3 Glorious Stakes & Gr3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes) and 6 placings (including the Gr1 Sheema Classic & Gr1 Champion Stakes) from 15 starts for £1,983,742 in earnings.
The Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) has issued its first round of invitations to thirteen of the world's best weight-for-age horses to compete in the 2018 Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on 27 October. Invitees for the 98th running of the Cox Plate, which recently had its prize money increased to $5 million, include horses from five separate jurisdictions and ten of the world's leading racing stables. However, the thirteen hand-picked equine stars will face an imposing task trying to stop the world's best racehorse, Winx, from creating history when she bids for an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate win in the Spring. "With the recent $2 million prize money injection to our great race for the first time since 2002, we are confident we can entice horses on the world stage to compete at The Valley in what is now the richest Group 1 turf race at 2000 metres in the world," said Michael Browell, Moonee Valley Racing Club CEO. "Working with the MVRC Committee and Paul Bloodworth and the team at Racing Victoria, we have identified what we believe to be the best Weight-for-Age horses and we hope they are keen to take on Winx and create a brilliant spectacle." The thirteen invitees are:
Darley stallion Poet's Voice has died at the age of 11 after suffering a fatal heart attack on Saturday at Dalham Hall Stud in the UK. A winner of the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, Poet's Voice (Dubawi-Bright Tiara, by Chief's Crown) has hitherto sired 13 individual stakes winners including Poet's Word, winner of the Gr3 Glorious Stakes and runner up in both the Gr1 British and Irish Champion Stakes, Gr2 ATC Roman Consul Stakes winner Viridine, Gr3 winner Poet's Vanity, Australian Listed winning filly My Country, and highly promising WA stayer and multiple stakes winner Trap For Fools. Saeed bin Suroor, who trained Poet's Voice, said: "I am very sad to hear of the death of Poet's Voice and my condolences go to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and everyone connected to him at Darley. He was a pleasure to train, always relaxed in his work and gave his best throughout his career. His victory in the QEII Stakes was very special indeed."
It may have taken slightly longer than expected but the mighty Frankel finally sired his first Gr1 winner in Europe when the prodigiously talented Cracksman bounded to a stunning win in the Champion Stakes (10 furlongs) at Ascot on Saturday. Fittingly, Cracksman's awesome victory came on the same day and in the same race that Frankel signed off his unbeaten 14-race career to give him an overdue maiden top-flight win in Britain. Striking the lead just over two furlongs from home, the John Gosden-trained Cracksman turned in a performance reminiscent of his illustrious father surging to a powerful 7 length win over Poet's Word and Highland Reel in the £1.3 million showpiece. Gosden commented: "It's great for Frankel to have a son win the race he won and to be his first Group 1 winner in Europe," he told Racing Post. "Cracksman seems to have got bigger and stronger, like a fighter weighing more now. He started as a middleweight, he's now a light heavyweight. He's definitely improved a lot…he won it in true style." Cracksman (Frankel-Rhadegunda, by Pivotal), who races in the same colours as owner Anthony Oppenheimer's champion galloper Golden Horn, advanced his record to 5 wins (including the Gr2 Great Voltigeur Stakes & Gr2 Prix Niel) and 2 placings (the Gr1 English Derby & Gr1 Irish Derby) from 7 starts for 1,364,782 in earnings. He is now 6-1 second favourite behind superstar filly Enable (3-1) for next year's Gr1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
At Leopardstown in Ireland, former Coolmore shuttler and triple Gr1-winning champion European sire Galileo (Sadler's Wells-Urban Sea, by Miswaki) celebrated an elite race success when 5YO UK-bred entire Decorated Knight (Galileo-Pearling, by Storm Cat) swooped late to score by 0.5 length in the €700,000 Gr1 Irish Champion Stakes (10 furlongs) for 3YO+, defeating Poet's Word & the Sir Peter Vela-owned Eminent. This was the third top-flight victory for Decorated Knight who improved his record to 8 wins (including the Gr1 Tattersalls Gold Cup & Gr1 Jebel Hatta Stakes) and 5 placings (including the Gr1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes) from 18 starts for £1,374,986 in earnings. Trainer Roger Charlton was surprised by the win. "I can't believe it. I didn't come here thinking we were going to win a race like that," he told Racing Post. "We rode for luck. We dropped in and felt they'd go very quick, and his finish down the outside was amazing, absolutely amazing." He added: "He is a mile-and-a-quarter horse so the Champion Stakes [Gr1] at Ascot would have to be on the agenda."