Jockey Jim Crowley, groom Radka Hovadova, and owner Maria Niarchos after the Juddmonte International at York

Jockey Jim Crowley, groom Radka Hovadova, and owner Maria Niarchos after the Juddmonte International at York

Steven Cargill / Racingfotos.com

Ulysses Handles Youngsters in Juddmonte International

Trainer plans to point Ulysses to Longines Breeders' Cup Turf.

A stretch battle between 3-year-old stars Barney Roy and Churchill in the Aug. 23 Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York was eclipsed in the closing yards as Ulysses swept by on their outside to leave that duo well in his wake.

At the end, the 4-year-old Galileo colt finished two lengths ahead of runner-up Churchill, the dual Guineas winner. It was another neck to Barney Roy, who in his previous start finished a close second to Ulysses in the Coral Eclipse Stakes (G1).

Cliffs of Moher, second in the Investec Derby (G1) and a compromised fourth in the Coral Eclipse, made the early going in the Juddmonte International and took the field into the straight before giving way to Barney Roy and Churchill. At that point, jockey Jim Crowley had Ulysses in full stride outside his younger rivals and they couldn't muster much in the way of resistance.

The purse for the British Champions Series race was massive—for the United Kingdom—at £1 million. The victory also earns Ulysses a spot in the $4 million Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1T) at Del Mar Nov. 4 through the Breeders' Cup Challenge program. Winning trainer Sir Michael Stoute said the Breeders' Cup is the target and he will work backward from that to plan the rest of Ulysses' campaign. 

Ulysses, out of the Kingmambo mare Light Shift, was bred in Ireland by his owner, Flaxman Stables. He adds to an impressive season after earning an honorable third behind 2016 Breeders' Cup Turf winner Highland Reel and Decorated Knight in the Prince of Wales's Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot and also second to super filly Enable in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) at Ascot July 29.

Ulysses was 4 1/2 lengths astern of Enable in the King George. That, coupled with his twin victories over Barney Roy, also speaks highly to the talent of Enable, a 3-year-old daughter of Nathaniel. Enable currently is a hot item for the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) at Chantilly Oct. 1.

Also Wednesday at York, Cracksman pulled off a rather dominant win in the 1 1/2-mile Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes (G2). The Frankel colt, with Frankie Dettori up for trainer John Gosden, waited mid-pack, split the leaders heading for home, and kicked away to win by six lengths over Venice Beach. Mirage Dancer returned third, another six lengths back in the spread-out field.

Cracksman finished third in the Investec Derby (G1) at Epsom and second in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (G1) in his two previous starts. 

Sign of the times: Three of the six starters in the Great Voltigeur were by Frankel. The other three were sired by Galileo. Four of the seven in the Juddmonte International were by Galileo, including the first two finsihers.

The Juddmonte International is the first of three group 1 events on the schedule for the prestigious Ebor Festival at York in the north of England. The Aug. 24 card features the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1), where the aforementioned Enable is a prohibitive favorite in a field of six.