Medicean to face Music at York

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The Independent Online

Medicean, the Eclipse Stakes winner, heads a field of nine runners for the International Stakes on the first day of the Ebor meeting at York tomorrow. Black Minnaloushe, the St James's Palace Stakes winner, and Sakhee, runner-up to Sinndar in last year's Derby, are other leading contenders for the £450,000 Group One contest.

The three-year-old Black Minnaloushe will be joined by Grandera as the Classic generation seeks to further establish its credentials against the older horses. James Fanshawe's colt was an unlucky third in the French Derby and finished a half length second to Medicean in the Eclipse.

Distant Music, the leading two-year-old of 1999, is another with an obvious chance, having finished third to Kalanisi and Montjeu in last year's Champion Stakes, his only previous attempt at 10 furlongs.

Aidan O'Brien, the trainer of Black Minnaloushe, has also declared Darwin, who will act as a pacemaker, and Bach, but the latter is an uncertain runner after his success on rain-softened ground in the Group Two Royal Whip Stakes at The Curragh yesterday.

"I left him in at York because I wasn't sure he was going to run here if they got the sort of rain we had," O'Brien said afterwards. "I suppose it's unlikely now that Bach will be going to York, but I'm not ruling him out just yet until we see how he is in the morning."

Although the field for tomorrow's feature event has almost been finalised the going they will encounter at the Knavesmire is far from certain after a spell of unsettled weather.

There were four millimetres of overnight rain at the course on Saturday, but the ground yesterday remained good. The forecast for today is for showers, some of which could be heavy.