duke of marmalade racehorseDuke of Marmalade
(le cheval bleu)

Heavy rain drenched York on Monday morning with forecasters predicting scattered showers leading up to today’s Juddmonte International Stakes (G1).

Ron Parker writes for the Thoroughbred Times that the course was deluged with rain on Saturday night, and Racing Post reported the ground is rated as heavy but holding up well.

Susan Magnier’s and Michael Tabor’s Duke of Marmalade, winner of four consecutive Group 1 races, was considered questionable for the Juddmonte International due to soft ground. But on Monday, trainer Aidan O’Brien said the Danehill colt will run in the about 1 5/16-mile race.

Duke of Marmalade (Danehill) has recorded Group 1 wins in England, France, and Ireland this season, including a win on yielding turf in the Prix Ganay-Grand Prix du 40th Anniversaire Air Mauritius (G1) on April 27 at Longchamp. He enters the Juddmonte International off a half-length win in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) on July 26 at Ascot.

“Conditions will be far from ideal for him but the owners are prepared to let him take his chance,” Aidan O’Brien told Racing Post.

That decision sets up a much anticipated meeting between Duke of Marmalade and New Approach, winner of the Vodafone Epsom Derby (G1) on June 7 at Epsom Downs.

An excellent workout on Friday convinced trainer Jim Bolger that the Galileo (Ire) colt was ready for the challenge and that the testing ground will present no problems for New Approach (Galileo).

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute said multiple Group 1 winner Linngari is doubtful for the race.

Catch all the action on Tellytrack (DSTV Channel 232).