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Poet's Word | Racing Post

Very few horses can pull off the G1 Prince of Wales's S-King George double, but racing's own johnny-come-lately Poet's Word (Ire) (Poet's Voice {GB}) has done so with a ruthless authenticity and bids for a unique treble in Wednesday's G1 Juddmonte International at York, a “Win And You're In” for the GI Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs in November. This set of victories in three of British racing's monuments was achieved in 2008 by Duke of Marmalade (Ire) (Danehill) and there is no denying that Saeed Suhail's 5-year-old is within the vicinity of that former Ballydoyle luminary after his Ascot deeds. Only an act of ambitious clairvoyance at the beginning of the season would have correctly previewed the figure he has cut in his summer pomp, but none doubt Sir Michael Stoute's capabilities with such deferred talent. Untried at this level and with only one Group 3 success on his resume at this time 12 months ago, Poet's Word has gained a magnetic appeal with his showcase triumphs. He is for real and jockey James Doyle has total belief.

“He's a worthy favourite and is as tough a horse as I've ever ridden–he doesn't shirk the issue,” he said. He really put his head and neck down in the King George and stretched all the way to the line.”

Stoute is one trainer whose cards are always close to his chest but the inference in his summary is that Poet's Word is ready to shine again. “His work has been very satisfactory,” he simply stated. “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.”

Denied the chance to take on a Group 1-winning 3-year-old in the King George, Poet's Word meets four here including the heroes of two of 2018's Classics. Qatar Racing's Roaring Lion (Kitten's Joy) registered his top-flight success in Sandown's G1 Eclipse July 7, where he had a neck to spare over the G1 2000 Guineas victor Saxon Warrior (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and perhaps a little more in hand given the way the race was run. Impressive against lesser opposition in the G2 Dante S. over this course and distance May 17 prior to his G1 Epsom Derby third, the grey has enjoyed a break since the Eclipse and may still be improving.

“The weight-for-age is kind and Roaring Lion is really well in himself,” jockey Oisin Murphy commented. “He's a gorgeous horse, a joy to sit on, and obviously an exceptional animal. On ratings and everything his win in the Coral-Eclipse would have been a career-best, but I think he has more to give.”

Saxon Warrior was lining up at Sandown just a week after his third-placing behind Latrobe (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) and the subsequent King George fifth Rostropovich (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) in the G1 Irish Derby at The Curragh and may be value for some progression here as a result. His Guineas win led most to believe they were witnessing the emergence of a new totem for racing, but for whatever reason his star has dimmed. Whether his subsequent run of defeats can be blamed on failure to handle the Epsom experience, stable malady, distance or back-up fatigue, he has a reputation to restore over the coming weeks. This was a colt nobody expected to be making excuses for after Newmarket, but whether he will be primed for this is another matter as the G1 Irish Champion S. looms imminently.

Godolphin pose the biggest threat to Poet's Word among the older horses, with Saeed bin Suroor pitching in the 4-year-olds Benbatl (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Thunder Snow (Ire) (Helmet {Aus}) to make for a strong royal blue ensemble. Thunder Snow has yet to race on European soil since his 5 3/4-length defeat of West Coast (Flatter) in the G1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan at the end of March, where he led from the break and it is interesting that his two prior top-level wins were also gained in that manner under Christophe Soumillon. York was always known as the “front-runner's track” and he could be dangerous left alone there if Latrobe is ridden with more restraint than at The Curragh. Benbatl also dominated from the head of affairs in the G1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis over this trip at Munich on July 29, but he is almost certain to be taking a tow into this under Jim Crowley who replaces the Qatar-retained Oisin Murphy.

“Oisin came in to ride Benbatl in his work and was impressed,” Saeed bin Suroor commented. “He's ready to go, but he wouldn't like the ground too fast. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is keen for Thunder Snow to go for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic and, after York, he will have just one more run before Churchill Downs.”

Voltigeur to Offer Leger Clues…

The G2 Sky Bet Great Voltigeur S. is for all intents and purposes the biggest trial for the upcoming St Leger, but in Cross Counter (GB) (Teofilo {Ire}) there is instead a Melbourne Cup protagonist at the head of the market. Impressive when beating the G1 Epsom Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee (GB) (Farhh {GB}) by 4 1/2 lengths in course-record time in the G3 Gordon S. at Glorious Goodwood Aug. 4, the progressive gelding is the race's class act on that bare evidence.

“Cross Counter must have a great chance of winning the Voltigeur, though we respect plenty of others in a strong field,” trainer Charlie Appleby said. “He showed his potential last start and I feel he remains on an upward curve.”

In a proper Godolphin-Ballydoyle encounter, there is a fly in the ointment in the king of Tim Easterby's nearby Habton Grange stables, Wells Farhh Go (Ire) (Farhh {GB}). He showed genuine Classic potential at two when beating James Garfield (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) in the seven-furlong G3 Acomb S. on this card and stamina when dominating the 13-furlong G3 Bahrain Trophy from the front at Newmarket July 12. In the latter contest, he dealt an authoritative defeat to Ballydoyle's Giuseppe Garibaldi (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) who had finished in front of him when third behind Old Persian (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Rostropovich in the G2 King Edward VII S. at Royal Ascot June 22. Jockey David Allan is looking for another solid pointer to the Sept. 15 Doncaster Classic.

“He's obviously a very good horse, but it's a very good race and it will be interesting to see how he runs here with the Leger in mind,” he said. “He was by far the best horse at Newmarket, we just rode him wrong earlier in the season.”

Aidan O'Brien has the habitual front-runner Nelson (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) engaged to take on Wells Farhh Go on the front end this time and potentially set it up for Kew Gardens (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) as he did in both the G2 Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot on June 20 and July 14 G1 Grand Prix de Paris. Kew Gardens, who has a five-pound penalty to contend with here, has since fallen foul to the Rosegreen virus which denied him a chance to take on Poet's Word in the King George and he is unlikely to be at a peak with the Leger the main target. TDN Rising Star The Pentagon (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) was one of the eye-catchers when fifth in the G1 Irish Derby at The Curragh June 30 and has the ground connections have long felt he needs, so it would be no surprise to see him take a step forward here.

Watan Aiming to Step up in Acomb…

In the G3 Tattersalls Acomb S., the July 31 Goodwood maiden winner Watan (GB) (Toronado {Ire}) will be a warm order as he steps up to seven furlongs with trainer Richard Hannon poised to learn more about Al Shaqab's representative. “I did mention the Morny [after his debut], but I don't think he needs to be dropped into that level yet,” he said. “He is still a shell of a horse to expand, so we will take it easy with him. We've put him in a lot of nice races at the end of the year. I think he will get seven, but he has the speed for six. I think he is pretty good.”

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