Crystal Ocean Primed for Juddmonte International
It’s been a brilliant season for Crystal Ocean so far, with the five year old having scored three successive victories before being narrowly beaten by Enable in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes recently.
That race was a Flat classic, with the two horses going hammer and tongs down the Ascot straight before Enable got up to win by a neck, although the horses will not be renewing their rivalry at the Ebor Festival, with the runners set to compete in different races.
While Enable is entered for the Juddmonte International and currently trades as favourite for Wednesday’s encounter, it is thought that connections will instead tilt her towards the Darley Yorkshire Oaks instead.
That could leave the way clear for Crystal Ocean to score another Group 1 victory at the Knavesmire, with the horse having already scored at Sandown, Newbury and Royal Ascot this season, the latter of which came in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes where Magical was beaten into second place.
Sir Michael Stoute trains this horse and is rightly proud of a runner who is currently the world’s highest-rated Flat horse, with the Juddmonte International being the racecourse’s richest race and he currently has a mark of 127.
Those that want an early bet on Crystal Ocean can get 6/4 about him winning the race next week and it’s hard to see beyond the race favourite who has been reported to be in excellent condition ahead of the encounter.
Speaking on Wednesday morning, Stoute said: "The plan is to take Crystal Ocean to the Juddmonte International at York. He seems to have come out of the King George in good shape and worked nicely this morning. There will be no decision over who will ride him until nearer the time."
It was James Doyle who rode him most recently, with Ryan Moore having previously steered him to victory at Sandown and Newbury, although Frankie Dettori had the honour of winning with Crystal Ocean at Royal Ascot.
Dettori then got off the horse to ride Enable in the King George race although the fact that the two superstars are being kept apart for the Ebor Festival could see the Italian back in the frame and it’s probable that Stoute has already made an enquiry.
However, King Of Comedy will ride for John Gosden in this race and it’s possible that Dettori will decide to be on board a three-year-old who is also having an excellent season, with victories having come at Yarmouth and Sandown.
There was then an agonising defeat in the Royal Ascot meeting where Circus Maximus was able to win the St James’s Palace Stakes by a neck, although Gosden is sure to have his horse ready for the Ebor meeting and we’re excited for a race where the winner will walk away with a purse of over £500,000.