08/22/2008 11:00PM

Duke of Marmalade wins his fifth Group 1 of '08


Duke of Marmalade recorded his fifth Group 1 triumph of the year at Newmarket on Saturday with a thoroughly professional victory in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, in which he beat the Epsom Derby winner New Approach into a nonthreatening third.

Twice postponed from the washed-out York Ebor Meeting earlier this week, the Juddmonte had its purse halved to $462,000 as a result of the change of venue as well as having 88 yards shaved from its distance to 1 1/4 miles. None of this mattered to the odds-on Duke of Marmalade, who tracked the leader under Johnny Murtagh and led at the three-eighths pole, repelling the late challenge of the 12-1 Phoenix Tower by three-quarters of a length. The 2-1 New Approach, who pulled hard in the early going, showed the ill effects of those efforts, coming home 2 1/2 lengths behind Phoenix Tower, who finished second for the fourth time in a Group 1 race this year. The time for the 10 furlongs on good to firm ground was 2:01.53.

Duke of Marmalade gave trainer Aidan O'Brien his 18th Group 1 victory of the season, all of them coming since April 27, when Duke of Marmalade kicked off the European Group 1 season by winning the 1 5/16-mile Prix Ganay. Subsequent scores in the 1 5/16-mile Tattersalls Gold Cup, the 1 1/4-mile Prince of Wales's Stakes, and the 1 1/2-mile King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes enable Duke of Marmalade, a 4-year-old son of Danehill, to lay claim to an unprecedented quintuple. New Approach ruined his chances with a bout of rankness early on. He had been able to overcome the same problem in the Epsom Derby, but was caught flat-footed in the latter stages on Saturday.

Duke of Marmalade's victory was all the more remarkable because he was actually shipped to England on Tuesday for the Juddmonte's original date before the race was postponed. He then flew back to his Ballydoyle home in County Tipperary in Ireland before making a return trip to England on Saturday morning. His next assignment is likely to be a quick return in the 1 1/4-mile Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Sept. 6.

* Raven's Pass found the winner's circle for the first time this year at Goodwood on Saturday with a victory in the Group 2, $185,000 Celebration Mile. A son of Elusive Quality trained by John Gosden for Stonerside Stable, Raven's Pass prevailed by a comfortable length over Bankable as the 1-2 favorite, getting the mile on good to soft ground in 1:39.30.

Previously second in a trio of Group 1 miles, Raven's Pass will use Ascot's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Sept. 27 as a final prep for the Breeders' Cup Mile. He will run into Henrythenavigator for the fourth time this season at Ascot.