The Duke on Ebor Day One

York is a lot of fun to be at, especially during Ebor week. If you enjoy a walk, you’ll pass lots of history on your way from the city through to the racecourse. The Knavesmire, where the track is situated, is full of exciting tales too. Apart from equine exploits, it is perhaps most notably the place where the notorious highwayman Dick Turpin was hung.

Day One holds the most prestigious race in York’s calendar, and over the past few years it has arguably been the UK’s best quality race; the Juddmonte International.

There is no doubt that Poet’s Word has the best form. He is having a stellar season, winning two Group 1 races; the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the King George. Is there any opposition or will he romp home?

Thunder Snow won the Dubai World Cup in striking (perhaps even freakish) fashion and it seems bizarre to think he’s a 16/1 chance after that victory on dirt, because he is just as adept on turf. The truth is, he’s not been seen since March and this is a very tough reintroduction.

Latrobe is also a rather big price for an unexposed Irish Derby winner, who showed a good resolution to grab that Curragh victory. Joseph O’Brien is cut out of the same cloth as his father, an intelligent, astute trainer whose horses you can never overlook. It is surely a
matter of time before he takes over from
his dad at Ballydoyle.

Benbatl has had a good 2018 apart from a disappointing effort at Ascot. He won in Germany last month, but that was an easier affair and he’d need a lot more.

Without Parole has been best at a mile, including winning the St James’s Palace Stakes, but connections think he will stay the extra couple of furlongs. He was poor at Goodwood so he has something to prove, but he has the underlying ability to be involved.

Saxon Warrior and Roaring Lion are closely linked on form. They’ve faced each other three times this season. Saxon Warrior won the Guineas when Roaring Lion was fifth. Since then, Roaring Lion was one place ahead of Saxon Warrior in the Derby (3rd and 4th), while their most recent meeting was in the Eclipse at Sandown last month. Only a neck separated them, with Roaring Lion emerging on top for the win despite a Stewards’ Inquiry.  They both look sure to be in the mix again here.

Poet’s Word is the most likely winner. He comes out on top in virtually every category and he would probably need to underperform to be beaten.

However, he does give 7lbs in weight to the three-year-olds in the race and I think you can make a good each-way case for Without Parole on that basis. If he had skipped Goodwood and come straight to this race, there is no way he would be a double figure price. He was unbeaten up to his run in the Sussex Stakes and he certainly wouldn’t be the first horse to be unable to handle the Goodwood track. He was also sweating profusely before that race. Frankie Dettori is back on board and I will be very disappointed if he isn’t in the first three home. Without Parole each-way for me.

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