Cracksman missing as eight are declared for Juddmonte International
One of the stars of the Ebor meeting will be missing after Cracksman was not declared for the Juddmonte International at York on Wednesday.
Cracksman's owner Anthony Oppenheimer warned this month the John Gosden-trained three-time Group 1 winner would need cut in the ground to line up and the rain has not materialised.
A high-quality field of eight is set to battle it out in the £1 million Group 1 contest and Gosden still holds a strong hand with Roaring Lion and Without Parole, the mount of Frankie Dettori.
Poet's Word and Saxon Warrior are joined by Godolphin pair Benbatl and Thunder Snow, while Irish Derby winner Latrobe and Thundering Blue, who was added to the race at a cost of £75,000, complete the field.
The ground at York was described as good to firm, good in places (GoingStick 7.2) on Monday morning.
James Doyle believes King George hero Poet's Word deserves his place as the 7-4 market-leader for a race that forms part of the Middle Distance category of the Qipco British Champions Series.
"He's a worthy favourite coming off the back of successive Group 1 wins in tough races and, as you can imagine, I'm excited about riding him in the top race of the week," he said.
"He's as tough a horse as I've ever ridden – he doesn't shirk the issue. He really put his head and neck down in the King George and stretched all the way to the line. He was very brave."
Regarding the impact of the hard-fought Ascot success, Doyle said: "It shouldn't affect him. I don't think he lost much weight, from what I'm hearing, and all the vibes from the stable are very positive.
"He's a big, robust horse who is blossoming. He's different class to ride – he relaxes well and is push-button. He does whatever you ask.”
On the drop back in trip, the jockey added: "He's versatile and showed a good kick in the Prince of Wales's. He's got plenty of other good form over a mile and quarter, too, such as when beaten a neck in the Irish Champion Stakes."
William Hill St Leger favourite Kew Gardens features among nine declarations for the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes on the same card.
Wells Farhh Go, another leading fancy for the Doncaster Classic, heads the opposition, with Godolphin again doubly represented with Cross Counter and Old Persian.
The Mark Johnston-trained Persian Moon, a winner at the track last month, features in an eight-strong field for the Group 3 Acomb Stakes, a 7f contest for two-year-olds.
Coral: 7-4 Poet's Word; 5-2 Roaring Lion; 5 Saxon Warrior; 10 Benbatl; 12 Without Parole, Latrobe; 14 Thunder Snow; 25 Thundering Blue
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