08/17/2016 2:30PM

Limato favored in Nunthorpe


Limato, the winner of the Group 1 July Cup last month, is a mild favorite to win Friday’s $445,400 Nunthorpe Stakes at York Racecourse in northern England, a race that could have implications for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in November.

The Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, offering a fees-paid berth for the winner in the BC Turf Sprint, if the winner is nominated to the program.

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Limato, trained by Henry Candy, won his first Group 1 in the July Cup at Newmarket on July 9 in his fourth race at that level. Owned by Paul Jacobs, Limato will be ridden by Harry Bentley in the Nunthorpe. Bentley was aboard for the July Cup win.

The Nunthorpe Stakes is run on a straightaway course and is the rare race open to 2-year-olds and up. Limato was 3-1 as of Wednesday and will break from post 4. His chief rival, Profitable, starts from post 13. Trained by Clive Cox, Profitable was fourth in the July Cup but won the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at five furlongs on turf at Royal Ascot in June.

Postponed takes Juddmonte

Postponed’s unbeaten march through a sterling 2016 campaign was, well, postponed by illness last month, but the fantastic 5-year-old got back on track Tuesday at York, where he won the Group 1 Juddmonte International by 1 1/4 lengths over Highland Reel. It was another length back in third to Mutakayyef, who had to be checked while rallying up the rail when the winner drifted into his path in the final furlong.

Postponed now has captured four Group 1 races during a six-race winning streak and earned a fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf because the International is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In race. Whether Postponed travels for the BC Turf is uncertain, but his major autumn goal is clearly the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

All of Postponed’s wins during his current streak had come over 1 1/2 miles, but on Tuesday, he was cut back to just over 1 1/4 miles while making his first start since winning the Group 1 Coronation Cup on June 4. An intended start in the King George VI Stakes was lost to an upper-respiratory illness from which Postponed has only recently fully recovered, according to trainer Roger Varian.

Postponed’s pacemaker, King Bolete, set the tempo Tuesday, with Highland Reel tracking, but Postponed and regular rider Andrea Atzeni took command with about three furlongs out, Postponed drifting right in the final furlong and a half as Mutakayyef tried to make a run. Since Mutakayyef was outfinished by Highland Reel, the stewards, operating under standard practice in England, did not take down the winner.

Postponed is unlikely to race again until the Arc.

–additional reporting by Marcus Hersh