Ulysses wins Juddmonte International in style, now aimed at Breeders’ Cup Turf
Godolphin’s Barney Roy finishes outside the first two for the first time in six starts
Ulysses backed up his Eclipse success with a commanding victory over dual Guineas winner Churchill and Godolphin runner Barney Roy in the Group 1 Juddmonte International, the highlight of the opening day’s Ebor meeting at York on Wednesday.
Given a patient ride by the British champion jockey Jim Crowley, the Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old chestnut son of Galileo moved smoothly from the outside of Churchill and Barney Roy for his second Group 1 success in five starts this season.
Barney Roy, ridden by James Doyle, and Ryan Moore aboard the Aidan O'Brien-trained Churchill were neck and neck as they hit the final 400 metres of the 2,000m trip. Crowley bid his time behind them before stepping on the gas in the last 200m to go two lengths clear of the two as they flashed past the post.
“There's one way to ride this horse,” said the winning jockey Crowley. “He likes to be ridden with confidence and he seems to be improving.
“Today's the best feel I've got off him and he seems to be getting better and better. I always had plenty of horse and today he relaxed so nicely all the way around. He's a great horse to be riding.”
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Ulysses was a one-time fancy for the 2016 Derby but disappointed after finishing 12th of the 16-runner field behind Harzand.
He has been a revelation this season, though, winning three of his five starts. He was third behind Highland Reel in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes and runner-up behind dual Oaks winner Enable in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, both at Ascot.
Following his impressive run, Stoute is now aiming his charge at the Breeders’ Cup Turf in the United States.
“It all went so smoothly and there was never a blip,” Stoute said of Ulysses. “I think it was his best performance to date.
“We had planned to drop in behind and this track is so level I never had any worries the way he was travelling. I think it’s time to give him a break and I know Maria [Niarchos, the owner] is keen on the Breeders’ Cup Turf, so we’ll work backwards from that.
“He’s a professional athlete now and has everything: constitution, rhythm and pedigree and I think he’s as good over 12 furlongs. The King George was run in a swamp and on today’s performance I’d put him right up there with any of my previous winners or even in front of them.”
Barney Roy finished outside the first two for the first time in six starts, but his handler Richard Hannon is keeping faith with him for a crack at the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October.
“That was another very solid run,” he said. “They took each other on a long way out and probably set it up for the winner.
“We might run him over 10 furlongs again, but a lot will depend on the ground. If it comes up soft we could go back to a mile with him. But we are certainly not ruling it out.”
Updated: August 23, 2017 08:19 PM