Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Wednesday's Juddmonte International Stakes at York, and pick out their 1-2-3...
"...has made into a very smart colt and looked unfortunate not to land the St James's Palace at Royal Ascot..."
Timeform on King of Comedy
1. Cheval Grand (Yasuo Tomomichi, Japan/Oisin Murphy)
Won Japan Cup in 2017, but not so good since, though did finish second in Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan (one and a half lengths behind Old Persian) in March. Below form after four months off when 12 and three quarter lengths sixth to Enable in King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last time, and doesn't look up to this level.
2. Crystal Ocean (Sir Michael Stoute/James Doyle)
Top-class performer who won Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown in April, Aston Park Stakes at Newbury in May and Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot (by one and a quarter lengths from Magical) in June. Good neck second to Enable in King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last time, producing a performance good enough to have won the vast majority of the runnings this century. No Enable in his way this time and looks the one to beat in search of a second Group 1 success.
3. Elarqam (Mark Johnston/Jim Crowley)
Very smart performer who won listed races at Goodwood in May and Sandown (by head from Extra Elusive) in July. Improved further when following up in York Stakes (by three and a quarter lengths from Addeybb, well positioned) last time. Building up a good strike rate this season, and looks set to give another good account, for all this will require further progress.
4. Lord Glitters (David O'Meara/Daniel Tudhope)
Won Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot (by neck from Beat The Bank) in June, and run best excused when three lengths fifth to Too Darn Hot in Sussex Stakes at Goodwood last time, finishing with running left having been unsuited by way race developed. Won over this far when trained in France, and ran well over 9f at Meydan earlier in the year, so well worth a crack at this.
5. Regal Reality (Sir Michael Stoute/Richard Kingscote)
Very smart performer who won Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown (by three and three quarter lengths from Matterhorn) in May. Third in Eclipse Stakes at same course (two and three quarter lengths behind Enable) in July, but below form when five and a quarter lengths fourth to Elarqam in York Stakes last time, making headway under three furlongs out. Soft ground may have been an issue on that occasion, but he doesn't look up to this level yet in any case.
6. Thundering Blue (David Menuisier/Jason Watson)
Enjoyed a brilliant 2018, which included three wins and a third-placed finish in this race. Yet to fire this season, always in rear when five and a quarter lengths last to Coronet in Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud last time. Good record round here, though, and no surprise to see a more competitive showing.
7. Circus Maximus (Aidan O'Brien, Ireland/Donnacha O'Brien)
Tall, useful-looking colt who won listed Dee Stakes at Chester in May and St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot (by neck from King of Comedy) in June. At least as good as ever when half-length second to Too Darn Hot in Sussex Stakes at Goodwood last time, headed a furlong out and keeping on well. Looks ready for a return to 1¼m now, but this by far the sternest test he's faced.
8. Japan (Aidan O'Brien, Ireland/Ryan Moore)
Sturdy, well-made colt who shaped well when half-length third to Anthony Van Dyck in Derby at Epsom before winning King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot (by four and a half lengths from Bangkok) in June. Followed up in Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp (by half-length from Slalom, pushed out and winning with more in hand that the margin suggests) last time. Done nothing but progress this season and still has more to come. Shouldn't be troubled by the drop back to 1¼m and not to be underestimated.
9. King of Comedy (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori)
Won minor event at Yarmouth in April and listed race at Sandown (by two and a half lengths from Roseman) in May. Improved again when neck second to Circus Maximus in St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, though probably should have won, asked to come from further back than ideal. Yet to race beyond 1m, but both his run style and pedigree suggest this longer trip won't be an issue, and is another who is yet to reach his limit.
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Timeform's Juddmonte International Stakes Analyst Verdict
A cracking renewal with the vote in favour of KING OF COMEDY. John Gosden's 3-y-o has made into a very smart colt and looked unfortunate not to land the St James's Palace at Royal Ascot, having come from a long way back. He shapes as though 1¼m will hold no fears and makes plenty of appeal. Fellow 3-y-o Japan and Crystal Ocean, who sets the standard with solid Group 1 form, are live threats.
Timeform's Juddmonte International Stakes 1-2-3
1. King of Comedy
3. Crystal Ocean