MIDDLE distance champion Poet’s Word is on course for the £1m Juddmonte International at York later this month, connections have confirmed.
The race will see the five-year-old put his reputation on the line against the Classic generation headed by Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior.
And it will see Poet’s Word seek to provide legendary trainer Sir Michael Stoute, and in form jockey James Doyle, with a Group One treble.
The horse’s thrilling victory in the 10-furlong Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot over Cracksman was a record 76th at the flagship meeting for 72-year-old Stoute.
Poet’s Word then stepped up to a mile-and-a-half and edged out stablemate Crystal Ocean in a dramatic King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
The Irish Champion Stakes and then possibly the Breeders’ Cup are his objectives before a return to Dubai next April for the lucrative World Cup meeting.
Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail, said: “York is still on the agenda, as are a few of those nice races coming up, but York is what we are thinking.
“There’s York and then the Irish Champion Stakes, but I don’t think the Arc is really on his agenda, maybe the Breeders’ Cup. I don’t think he’d want soft ground, so the Arc hasn’t ever really been in our thoughts. The owner would like to take him back to Dubai.
Meanwhile, Archie Watson is not ruling out letting Soldier’s Call take on his elders in York’s Nunthorpe Stakes at the Ebor Festival.
The Showcasing colt, owned by Yorkshire businessman Steve Parkin, provided his trainer with a first Royal Ascot triumph when claiming the Windsor Castle Stakes.
However, the exciting sprint prospect could finish only third when a hot favourite to follow up in the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood last Wednesday after bumping into a rival when leaving the stalls and unbalancing jockey Danny Tudhope.
Smart Yorkshire stayer Lord Yeats has a host of big-race options in the coming weeks if he can get sufficient ease in the ground.
Fifth to Order Of St George in the Irish St Leger at the Curragh last season, this race is a possible target once more.
The five-year-old is also in contention for the Sky Bet Ebor at York, as well as contests in France and Germany.
“Lord Yeats is absolutely flying at home,” said Leyburn trainer Jedd O’Keeffe. “I’ve got him in the Prix Kergorlay in France and he’s also in the Ebor, but he would only go for that if it was proper soft ground.
“He’s also in the Irish St Leger Trial, the Irish Leger itself and the German Leger. He’s in everything, but he’s crying out for rain.”
O’Keeffe has also confirmed that stable star Sam Spinner will stick to hurdles for the forthcoming National Hunt season.
A Grade One winner at Ascot last year under Joe Colliver, the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase meeting is the early season target.
A race at Ripon could be named in honour of Pipers Note after the popular sprinter won at the track yesterday for the eighth time.
Trained in North Yorkshire by Ruth Carr, the horse will attempt to add to the tally in the Great St Wilfrid, the track’s feature race of the year, on August 18.
Winning jockey James Sullivan said: “I don’t know why, but he just loves it here. It will be the Great St Wilfrid next. We were second in it last year, so hopefully we can go one better.”
On plans to name a race after the eight-year-old horse, clerk of the course James Hutchinson said: “We named a race after Fossgate and he’d actually only won six here, so we’ll have to sort something out. It would be great if he could win our big race on Saturday week.”