Roaring Lion had the large crowd on York’s Knavesmire racecourse purring with satisfaction after this well backed son of US based stallion Kitten’s Joy followed up his Eclipse stakes win with another Group One success in the Juddmonte International.
Taking up the running from Godolphin’s Benbatl one and a half furlongs from home, winning jockey Oisin Murphy quickly had the race under his control and the combination sprinted clear for a comfortable success. The second, Poet’s Word, had won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last time and may have felt the effects of that hard race as he failed to finish as well as he’d done on his last two runs.
Trainer John Gosden was quick to praise his team at home for the work they’d done in helping Roaring Lion progress from what Gosden described as a ‘difficult spring’. He was also quick to nominate the Irish Champion Stakes and Ascot’s Champion Stakes as likely targets, ruling out a step up to a mile and half in the Arc De Triomphe. On the horse’s sole attempt at that longer trip he was beaten into third, running creditably, in the Derby.
On what was described by jockeys as ‘good’ ground at York the runners all came over to the stands rail and while Roaring Lion was full of running, both Poet’s Word and 2,000 guineas winner Saxon Warrior started to come under pressure early enough and had no response to the winner’s turn of foot. Saxon Warrior finished a disappointing fourth in the end, continuing trainer Aidan O’Brien’s recent poor run with his UK runners.
The big surprise in the race was the run of third placed Thundering Blue who had been handicapping until his last run when a Group 2 success here at York persuaded connections to supplement him for this race. Stumping up the not inconsiderable sum of £75,000, they made almost £40,000 profit for their entrepreneurship and were understandably delighted with the result at the end of the race.
Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow was reappearing for the first time since that win and he struggled home in last place after weakening in the straight.
Roaring Lion was a $165,000 purchase at the Keeneland September sale in 2016 and races in the Qatar Racing colours.