York: Polished Postponed shines in Juddmonte
Postponed emphatically demonstrated his credentials for the Arc
PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos) Polished Postponed shines at York
By Alex Wiltshire 3:45PM 17 AUG 2016
Report: York Wednesday
Juddmonte International Stakes (Group 1), 1m 2 1/2f, 3yo+
POSTPONED'S glistening record was given further sparkle as he quashed concerns over the shorter trip to land the Juddmonte International Stakes as the 15-8 favourite for trainer Roger Varian and rider Andrea Atzeni.
Victory added a fourth Group 1 win to Postponed's CV and he emerged the clear 4-1 favourite for the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe ahead of dual Derby winner Harzand at a best-price 6-1.
Varian's game plan was conducted to perfection, as stablemate and pacemaker King Bolete set a strong pace with Postponed settled in third behind Highland Reel.
After asserting himself approaching the final furlong the five-year-old hung towards the nearside rail, however, he was able to hold off the valiant effort of King George hero Highland Reel, with Mutakayyef looking slightly unfortunate in third, having had to be checked when the winner hung to the rail.
Infection forced Postponed to surrender his King George crown on July 23, but he emphatically proved himself to be in flying shape on the Knavesmire.
Arc the next target
"He's an incredible horse and I'm very lucky to train him," said Varian. "We didn't have long to get him ready and he only really turned the corner two weeks ago.
"In the last seven days he'd looked to have blossomed and the change in him over the last week gave us confidence he was right. I trusted in the horse's condition and he's delivered."
Postponed looks set for another small break as next on the agenda appears to be a trip to France for the Arc on October 2.
"Let's get him home and check he's okay," added Varian. "I'll talk through plans with his owner but I'd think it would be unlikely he'd run again before the Arc, so that gives us plenty of time to tune him in again for that race."
Highland Reel to take flight
Aidan O'Brien was pleased with the run of Highland Reel who looks set to resume his international career with a return to Australia for the Cox Plate on the horizon.
The trainer said: "That was a very good run; we're delighted. He is still progressing and physically he's getting stronger all the time.
"I'd say he'll do plenty of travelling. He is in the big Australian races and he could go somewhere before that. He's very versatile."