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)

News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEpic YouTube video features boundary-pushing staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

.Mid Level VB.Net, C# Developer wanted - SURREY - £35k - £40k

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Mid Level VB...

Nuclear Project Planner: Sellafield Sites

£40000 - £55000 per annum + Car, Fuel Card, Healthcare + More: Progressive Rec...

M&E Construction Planning Manager: Surrey

£60000 - £90000 per annum + Car, Pension, Healthcare: Progressive Recruitment:...

M&E Construction Planner Solihull

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Car, Healthcare, Pensions: Progressive Recruitment...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star