Qatar Racing Limited’s Roaring Lion proved to be much the best as he cruised to a 3 1/4-length victory over Poet’s Word (IRE) in the 1 5/16-mile Juddmonte International (Group 1) at York for 3-year-olds and up and earn an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 85 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships that will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 2-3.
As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the pre-entry and entry fees for Roaring Lion to start in the Turf. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.
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Trained by John Gosden and ridden by Oisin Murphy, the 3-year-old Roaring Lion raced in mid-pack in the field of eight in the early going as Thunder Snow (IRE) led an uncontested pace. In the final straightaway, Murphy swung the second choice to the outside, surged past Benbatl (GB), who had taken over two furlongs from the wire, and had more than enough left to fend off favored Poet’s Word.
Roaring Lion completed the distance over firm ground in 2:07.70 and gave Gosden and Murphy their initial victory in the race.
The win was the sixth in 10 starts for Roaring Lion, a roan/gray Kentucky-bred son of Kitten’s Joy. Now unbeaten in two starts at York, Roaring Lion had won the 1 5/16-mile Betfred Dante Stakes (G2) by 4 ½ lengths in May. Prior to Wednesday’s victory, Roaring Lion won the Coral-Eclipse (G1) at Sandown in his first venture against older runners.
“A good mile-and a-quarter horse gets a mile and a half in America,” Gosden said as reported by The Sun. “But the Breeders’ Cup Turf is a long way off. I think you should savor a race like this, see how the horse is in the next 10 days and then make plans.”
The Juddmonte International was the eighth Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf qualifier thus far in 2018. In addition to Roaring Lion, other qualifiers are Poet’s Word, who won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) sponsored by Qipco, both at Ascot; La Extrana Dama (ARG), who won the Gran Premio 25 Mayo at San Isidro (G1) in Buenos Aires; Quarteto de Cordas (BRZ), winner of the Grande Premio Brazil (G1) at Hipodromo Gavea in Rio de Janeiro; Mikki Rocket (JPN), winner of the Takarazuka Kinen (G1) at Hanshin in Osaka, Japan; Robert Bruce (CHI), winner of the Arlington Million (G1) at Arlington International near Chicago; and Fashion Business (GB), winner of the Del Mar Handicap presented by the Japan Racing Association (G2) at Del Mar in Southern California.