Juddmonte field no match for Postponed
Postponed took his winning run to six as he returned from a 74-day absence with a solid display in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York.
The Roger Varian-trained five-year-old dispelled doubts the trip of an extended mile and a quarter might be too short as he defeated a high-class field.
After his pacemaking stablemate King Bolete had made the running, Postponed (15-8 favourite) was given the office by Andrea Atzeni three furlongs from home and he stuck to his task well, despite drifting towards the stands side rail.
King George winner Highland Reel (6-1) was beaten a length and a quarter in second place, with Mutakayyef (15-2), who was slightly short of room in the closing stages, another length away in third.
Atzeni said: "He's great, isn't he?
"A lot of people had doubts about him – I never had. He's got too much class. I think people underrate him. I think he's one of the best in the business we've seen for a while."
Bookmakers offer odds of around 6-1 about Postponed winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly.
Varian said: "He's an incredible horse. The team at home have done a fantastic job.
"We didn't have long to get him ready. He wasn't right three and a half weeks ago for the King George.
"He turned the corner two weeks ago. In the last seven days he looks to have blossomed. A week ago I wouldn't have known if I was running him here.
"We're not having loads of winner at the moment, so you're never quite sure. I trusted in the horse's condition and he delivered.
"I think it's a turning point. I can see the signs in all the horses at home they are coming back to life and back to good health.
"I think it will be two or three weeks yet before we hit full stride, but come September we'll be ready to roll.
"I'll talk through plans with his owner, but I would think it unlikely he'll run again before the Arc – it will give us plenty of time to tune him up for that race.
"Sheikh Mohammed Obaid (owner) is a terrific sportsman and he hinted he might stay in training.
"A concrete decision won't be made until later in the year.
"Of course, I'd love him to stay in training next year. Let's cross one bridge at a time and see where we are in the autumn.
"I'm not sure this is as spectacular as some of his wins, but I thought he stamped himself as by far the best horse in the race."