Roaring Lion Dominates Older Rivals in Juddmonte International

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

August 24th, 2018

As a son of Kitten’s Joy, he might be considered a “kitten” by some, but on the track there can be no denying that the remarkable Roaring Lion has earned his name and matured into a “lion.”

Just look at the way this John Gosden-trained runner obliterated a fantastic field in the prestigious Juddmonte International (gr. I) on August 22nd at York, in the process earning a “Win and You’re In” berth to the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I). Roaring Lion has long shown flashes of serious talent and potential and secured his first Group 1 win in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) in July, but he elevated his game to an entirely different level in the Juddmonte International.

Facing a field of seven that included six Group 1 winners, Roaring Lion gave the impression of being fully in command from a long way out. While the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Thunder Snow carved out a steady pace with the Irish Derby (Ire-I) winner Latrobe pushing him along, Roaring Lion was content to settle in fifth place, saving ground just behind the Dubai Turf (UAE-I) winner Benbatl and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Eng-I) winner Poet’s Word.

The positions remained relatively unchanged until the field came around the final bend and entered the homestretch of nearly five furlongs, at which point the entire field shifted toward the outer rail. This had the benefit of shifting Roaring Lion “outside” into the clear while Poet’s Word, the race favorite, became buried in traffic.

At that point, the race was essentially over. Roaring Lion smoothly advanced toward the pacesetters, and when jockey Oisin Murphy asked him to accelerate, the colt responded with a burst of speed that carried him to a clear lead. As usual, Roaring Lion did drift around a bit while reaching full stride, but once he came alongside the rail and straightened out, he got down to business and left the late-running Poet’s Word reeling 3 ¼ lengths in his wake.
Roaring Lion’s authoritative victory makes it clear that he’s improving as the season progresses, which is further reflected by the fact that he received a career-best 127 Racing Post Rating for his performance. He also seems to have found a home as a specialist over middle distances, since he’s now unbeaten in three starts between 10 and 10 ½ furlongs. That also means that the 12-furlong distance of the Breeders’ Cup Turf could be a question mark, especially since he didn’t seem to stay that trip in the Epsom Derby (Eng-I) earlier this year, but then again, Roaring Lion does seem to be a much better horse as of late.

In any case, if Roaring Lion does make the trip to Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup, he’ll add plenty of intrigue to the race!