Juddmonte International 2018: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

Poet's Word heads the betting for Wednesday's Juddmonte International at York
Poet's Word heads the betting for Wednesday's Juddmonte International at York

Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Wednesday's Juddmonte International, and pick out their 1-2-3...

"Drop back in trip no problem and looks a leading contender once again, for all his best performances have come on more testing tracks."

Timeform on Poet's Word

1. BENBATL (Saeed bin Suroor/Jim Crowley)
Attractive colt who won Singspiel Stakes, Al Rashidiya and Dubai Turf (by three and a quarter lengths from Vivlos), all over 9f at Meydan earlier this year. Well below form after 12 weeks off in Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot but bounced back to best when winning Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis at Munich last time by two and three quarter lengths from Stormy Antarctic, allowed uncontested lead before kicking clear a furlong out. Will find this much tougher but could prove dangerous if allowed to dictate again.

2. POET'S WORD (Sir Michael Stoute/James Doyle)
Progressed into top-class performer this year, improving on Dubai Sheema Classic second when winning Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown in May and Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot (by two and a quarter lengths from Cracksman) in June, both over 1¼m. Made breakthrough at Group 1 level when completing hat-trick in King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (1½m) at Ascot last time by neck from stablemate Crystal Ocean, finding plenty to lead inside final 100 yards. Drop back in trip no problem and looks a leading contender once again for all his best performances have come on more testing tracks.

3. THUNDERING BLUE (David Menuisier/Fran Berry)
Progressive in 2017, recording hat-trick of handicap wins at Epsom, Newmarket and Sandown, and has taken his form to a new level this year. Won C&D handicap (by one and a quarter lengths from Banditry) in May, and produced career-best effort when winning York Stakes (over C&D) last time by neck from Brorocco, staying on to lead final strides. Connections have supplemented him for this at a not unsubstantial cost of £75,000 and, for all he has a bit to find on form, his record over C&D entitles him to a crack at this sort of prize.

4. THUNDER SNOW (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon)

Very smart on turf, but high-class on all-weather/dirt. Successful in 2017 in UAE 2000 Guineas (1m) and UAE Derby, both at Meydan, and Prix Jean Prat (1m) at Chantilly. Proved even better back at Meydan this year, winning Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (by neck from North America) in February and Dubai World Cup in March, beating West Coast by five and three quarter lengths on latter occasion after being allowed to get across from widest draw and making most. This represents a much different test on return from five months off, but record when fresh bodes well and no great surprise to see him run well.

5. LATROBE (Joseph O'Brien, Ireland/Wayne Lordan)
Smart performer who won maiden at the Curragh (by six and a half lengths from Tornado Watch) in June, and put up a much improved display when following up in 12-runner Irish Derby there last time by half a length from Rostropovich, well positioned and edging ahead inside final furlong. Sprung a surprise that day (longest-priced winner since Frozen Fire in 2008), but there was no fluke about that success, and he should have even more to offer. Also entered in 1½m Great Voltigeur Stakes, but connections reportedly leaning towards this race. Needs to take another step forward to take down the leading contenders.

6. ROARING LION (John Gosden/Oisin Murphy)
Strong, attractive colt who won first three starts at two, including Royal Lodge Stakes (1m) at Newmarket, before finishing neck second to Saxon Warrior in Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster final start. Made low-key reappearance when odds-on flop in Craven Stakes at Newmarket, but has since developed well, winning Dante Stakes over C&D (by four and a half lengths from Mildenberger) in May before running to a similar level when two lengths third to Masar in Derby at Epsom next start. Finally got the better of Saxon Warrior in Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown last time, digging deep to lead final 50 yards. Application no longer in question and should continue to give a good account now kept to optimum trip.

7. SAXON WARRIOR (Aidan O'Brien, Ireland/Ryan Moore)
Successful all three starts at two, including Racing Post Trophy (by neck from Roaring Lion), and progressed again when winning 2000 Guineas at Newmarket (by one and a half lengths from Tip Two Win, Roaring Lion fifth) on reappearance in May. Bit below form up in trip on next two starts, finishing four and a half lengths fourth to Masar in Derby at Epsom and three-quarter length third to Latrobe in Irish Derby at the Curragh, but turned out again quickly and ran right up to best when neck second to Roaring Lion in Coral-Eclipse Stakes last time (hampered by winner close home). Clearly very little between the pair and another bold bid expected here.

8. WITHOUT PAROLE (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori)
Very smart miler who won first four starts, namely minor events at Newcastle and Yarmouth, listed race at Sandown and St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot (by half a length from Gustav Klimt). Sweated up beforehand, and was most disappointing, when only seventh of eight to Lightning Spear in Sussex Stakes at Goodwood last time, unsuited by making his own running and weakening final furlong. Shapes as though 1¼m should be within range (mixed messages from pedigree but sire did win this race in 2012) and far too early to write him off.

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