Racing: Laverock ready to raise French flag at York

The rules of the generation game seem to have changed in recent seasons, but segregation ends at York today when an outstanding middle-distance three-year-old finally mingles with his seniors in the Juddmonte International Stakes. None was prepared to tackle Hurricane Run at Ascot last month, and previously Aussie Rules had offered only faintly credible opposition to David Junior in the Eclipse Stakes. But today Dylan Thomas measures his exalted status among contemporaries, if not against the very best older horses, then at least against some trustworthy yardsticks.

The international autumn calendar has unquestionably diluted the midsummer programme over 10 and 12 furlongs. Trainers increasingly feel that a young horse - excepting a teak freak like Giant's Causeway - cannot stretch from the spring classic trials all the way into autumn without some kind of hiatus. The first skirmishes between generations have been delayed as a result, and it might be said that today Dylan Thomas effectively begins the concluding cycle of the Flat season.

His standing certainly grew dramatically during its opening phase. When he won the Derrinstown Derby Trial on his reappearance - apparently flat out, testily flashing his tail - it seemed unlikely that he would forge another link in that race's golden chain, following Alamshar, Galileo, High Chapparal and Sinndar. But he was caught only in the final stride of the Derby, and was a revelation in the Irish version, ridden more patiently before bursting clear.

If anything, a return to this distance will suit better and he clearly sets a formidable standard in receipt of weight-for-age against relatively exposed rivals. There are grounds for concern, however - quite literally.

All his improvement has been on firm going and conditions now will be a good deal slower. Moreover the capricious behaviour of this track in particular, whenever the ground changes, heightens anxiety for anyone tempted by the hot favourite. Too often York conceals a mysterious, attritional bias towards front-runners.

With an each-way dividend paid on three of the eight, it may instead pay to side with one of his mature rivals. Cherry Mix could easily enjoy the run of the race, while Enforcer has already played an honourable supporting role in many of the summer's top races. He could prove even more effective dropped back to this distance, but is entitled to recoil from his tough schedule sooner or later.

In contrast Laverock (3.25) has had a light campaign and his Group One defeat of Manduro at Longchamp in May looks solid form. He can be excused both defeats since, one at the hands of Pride and Hurricane Run over a trip that stretches his stamina, the other in a falsely-run race. Beaten under a length by Shamardal and Hurricane Run in the Prix du Jockey Club last year, he looks too big at 14-1.

A vintage edition of the Ladbrokes Great Voltigeur Stakes features two colts, both trained by Sir Michael Stoute, that might have been tempting in the big race itself. Yet they will not necessarily be equal to this assignment. Stage Gift looked as though he must have been declared for the wrong race when bolting up in a handicap on Derby day, but has since had a setback and, up in trip after a lay-off, must prove his stamina against what seems certain to be a searching gallop.

Papal Bull is as talented as any three-year-old in the land, and the choice of this traditional St Leger trial suggests that his owners' strong hand at Ballydoyle may condemn him to a programme that does not play to his strengths - he is no mere slogger, be sure of that. But he is an unknown quantity on easy ground, and his lazy style could make him vulnerable if the track starts playing up again. The unyielding front-runner Soapy Danger (2.50) may not be the most able colt in the race, but Kevin Darley's mount may prove best equipped for its particular demands.

The Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Cup shows how pedestrian the staying division would look without Yeats, whose absence leaves this prize to a rabble beaten out of sight at Goodwood earlier in the month. Bulwark (2.15) was beaten further than most, but his ego will not be so tender among this lot and he might be worth chancing at big odds.

A more confident recommendation is LONDON EXPRESS (nap 1.45). This will be the easiest ground he has encountered since winning by eight lengths at Pontefract in the spring, and he has repeatedly indicated that he remains fairly treated off a mark just 5lb higher. A strong finish from off the pace at Goodwood suggested that a more positive ride and a demanding course would suit ideally.

Chris McGrath

Nap: London Express (York 1.45)

NB: Vitznau (York 4.35)

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?