'He's really shown how good he is,' says Oisin Murphy as Roaring Lion powers to Juddmonte International glory

'He's really shown how good he is,' says Oisin Murphy as Roaring Lion powers to Juddmonte International glory

Roaring Lion, trained by John Gosden and ridden by Oisin Murphy has romped to victory in the £1m Juddmonte International, the feature race on Day 1 of the Ebor Festival at York.

The Coral-Eclipse Stakes hero had impressed in the Dante Stakes on his previous visit to the Knavesmire in May and improved on that with an authoritative display.

Powering past Benbatl, who had hit the front two furlongs from home, Roaring Lion (3-1) quickly went clear under Murphy to give the jockey and trainer Gosden their first triumph in the mile-and-a-quarter showpiece.

King George victor Poet's Word, the 8-5 favourite, stuck on well for second place, after being short of room at a crucial stage in the straight, but was still three and a quarter lengths behind the convincing winner.

Thundering Blue came home strongly to claim third and vindicate the decision of owner Clive Washbourn and trainer David Menuisier to supplement the 50-1 chance at a cost of £75,000, earning £114,000 for their enterprise.

Saxon Warrior was fourth for Aidan O'Brien.

After the race, winning jockey Oisin Murphy said: "I was looking forward to this horse since last year and now he's really shown how good he is.

"It's phenomenal. I'd love to see the replay, he felt unbelievable and I can't wait to see the race.

"I'm just very, very lucky."

Gosden said: "He's run a lovely race. They went an honest pace. You'd got Dubai World Cup winners in there, Poet's Word came at him and ran a blinder. There were no hiding places out there.

"We were delighted with him - I was expecting a big performance from him.

"This horse ran a great race in the Derby. He won his Eclipse well and he's got better through the season. He's got bigger and stronger.

"He had a difficult spring, but he's done nothing but improve since."

He went on: "He's a mile-and-a-quarter horse through and through and I'd have been very disappointed if he hadn't run like that today.

"He won't be going for the Arc. The Irish Champion is an obvious possibility, as is Ascot (Champion Stakes).

"I would run him on good to soft ground, but I wouldn't want to run him on soft - that is the only proviso I have. He has a beautiful action.

"A good mile-and-a-quarter horse gets a mile and a half in America, but the Breeders' Cup Turf is a long way off.

"I think you should savour a race like this, see how the horse is in the next 10 days and then make plans.

"I'll be disappointed if he's retired at the end of the season. He's just getting good."

Michael Stoute took the defeat of Poet's Word on the chin.

He said: "James (Doyle) said it was very messy and he had to switch direction.

"We thought we were in a good position turning in and then we were in the worst position.

"He was very brave to then get balanced and come back and get second so I could only be pleased with him.

"The winner had gone when we were reorganising."

Asked about plans, the Freemason Lodge trainer said: "The Irish Champion Stakes wouldn't be a possibility and I don't know where we'll go, why should I know now, it's too early.

"We'll just see how we think he is, have a chat with the owner. He's in everything he could be in.

"I think he's equally effective over 10 furlongs and a mile and a half."

Menuisier was rightly proud of his gallant grey Thundering Blue.

He said: "I'm extremely pleased. When we looked at the final declarations, we all had a good laugh, but the horse told us he was super well.

"I'm so proud of him. The way he came home, against that calibre of opposition, I'd like to think he can win a Group One.

"The Canadian International has always been on our minds and I'd love to be invited to the Japan Cup.

"Fran (Berry) rode a lot out there and thinks it would suit him really well. We also think he'll improve for a mile and a half."

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