'Iron Duke' Rolls to Fifth Group I Win

'Iron Duke' Rolls to Fifth Group I Win
Photo: Trevor Jones
Duke of Marmalade pulls away in the Juddmonte International.
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Duke of Marmalade captured his fifth group I of the season by stubbornly holding off Phoenix Tower by three-quarters of a length to win the Juddmonte International (Eng-I) at Newmarket Aug. 23. 

The victory on Saturday made it 18 group I wins this season for trainer Aidan O’Brien, who is seeking to break the world record mark of 25 set by Bobby Frankel in 2003.

Originally set for Aug. 19, the Juddmonte International was one of three group I races that had to be rescheduled due to the forced cancellation of York’s Ebor meeting. It was the second trip from Ireland within a week for "the Duke," who had been flown to England from Ballydoyle on Tuesday, only to be sent back home later the same day after the race had been postponed.

Duke of Marmalade showed no signs of fatigue, however, as he raced comfortably in second behind his pacemaker, Red Rock Canyon, through the early stages. Johnny Murtagh sent the 4-year-old colt to the front with three furlongs to run, and Duke of Marmalade had plenty left to repel a late bid from a game Phoenix Tower.

New Approach, making his first start since capturing the Vodafone Derby (Eng-I) in June, refused to settle for Kevin Manning and spent much of the early part of the race fighting his rider. As a result, he showed little of his speed in the stretch, having just enough to hold off Pipedreamer for third.

Final time for the ten furlongs was 2:01.53 over the good-to-firm turf.

Afterward, O’Brien had nothing but high praise for his star colt, telling reporters, “He’s an amazing horse—the special one.  If good horses are made of stone, this one is made of something harder.”

He continued, “All credit to the lads in the team and to Johnny (Murtagh), who did a great job.”

Duke of Marmalade could make his next start in the Tattersalls Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) Sept. 6, where he will likely again face Phoenix Tower and New Approach.

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