Roaring Lion won his maiden Group One last month in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, where he edged out Saxon Warrior in a close tussle at the Esher track at the end of the 1m2f contest that was dominated by three-year-olds at the finish. The talented colt can build on that with victory in the Juddmonte International at York, which could put him in contention to be considered as one of the horses of the year in the UK.
There was a lot expected of John Gosden’s runner going into 2018 as he impressed as a two-year-old which suggested he would be a leading player in the British Classics at the start of campaign. The son of Kitten’s Joy won the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket, while just weeks later, he came home second at Doncaster behind Saxon Warrior in the Racing Post Trophy.
Roaring Lion heads the betting for the Juddmonte international at 3/1 in the horse racing betting following his career-best performance at Sandown. Unfortunately for connections, he did not make the best start to his three-year-old campaign as he was beaten when going off as the odds-on favourite in the Craven Stakes back in April. He then did not disgrace himself in the 2000 Guineas as he finished fifth in the opening Classic of the year by which point it looked as though he was going to improve for the step up in trip, which was confirmed when he won the Dante Stakes at York.
Although Saxon Warrior was the odds-on favourite for the Derby at Epsom, there was some confidence behind Roaring Lion being in contention on the Downs and that proved to be the case as he finished third, just two lengths behind the winner Masar in Surrey.
Racing fans missed out on the opportunity of seeing Masar and Roaring Lion compete against each other at Sandown as the Derby winner was ruled out of the Eclipse on the eve of the meeting due to a leg injury which has put him out for the rest of 2018. Roaring Lion took full advantage though where he was very impressive in the way he worked through the field under the hands of jockey Oisin Murphy to get the better of his old foe Saxon Warrior.
Poet’s Word is likely to be the biggest threat to Roaring Lion at York. The five-year-old is unbeaten so far in two runs in the UK this season with victories coming in the Group Three Brigadier Gerard Stakes and the Group One Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot where he turned over Cracksman. Although that form has to be respected, Sir Michael Stoute’s horse may struggle to keep reproducing those displays, therefore we may have already seen the best of him this year.
There is every chance Roaring Lion will continue to improve with each run, therefore he remains good value to score at York at the Ebor meeting, while he could also be a good bet to land the Arc in October in what would cap off an excellent year for the horse.