08/17/2007 11:00PM

Notnowcato capable of repeating


Dylan Thomas and Notnowcato renew their rivalry in the Group 1, $990,000 Juddmonte International Stakes at York on Tuesday while Epsom Derby winner Authorized attempts to get back on the winning track while seeking to redeem the tarnished reputation of this year's 3-year-olds.

The Juddmonte highlights opening day of York's three-day Ebor meeting, which runs through Thursday.

Dylan Thomas looms a lukewarm favorite in this 1 1/4-mile, 88-yard stakes off his resounding four-length success in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on July 28. The 4-year-old Dylan Thomas probably proved that he is the best 1 1/2-mile horse in Europe with his King George victory, raising the question as to why trainer Aidan O'Brien is dropping him back to a distance at which he was beaten in his previous two outings. Manduro took his measure in the Prince of Wales's Stakes. Prior to that, Notnowcato, a horse Dylan Thomas must face again in the Juddmonte, had beaten him by a head in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

Notnowcato is, in fact, the defending Juddmonte titleholder, having beaten Dylan Thomas 3 3/4 lengths into fourth last year. Equally important, the Michael Stoute-trained Notnowcato is coming off a 1 1/2-length victory over Authorized in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Eclipse Stakes on July 7.

Peter Chapple-Hyam has said that Authorized, who won the Group 2 Dante Stakes over the Juddmonte course and distance in May, is in precisely the same shape as he was before his five-length Epsom Derby triumph, but the feeling persists that the Montjeu colt is better going 1 1/2 miles than he is at 1 1/4 miles. He was not quite up to the task against Notnowcato in the Eclipse when getting 11 pounds on the scale. On Tuesday, he gets a break of just eight pounds.

With French Derby winner Lawman having finished last in his first start against older horses last Sunday in the Prix Jacques le Marois, the Juddmonte will test the mettle of this season's 3-year-old generation. As neither Authorized nor his older rival Dylan Thomas is running at their preferred distance, Notnowcato looks hard to beat.

Unless, that is, Asiatic Boy can show the improvement expected of him after his game fourth in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes three weeks ago. The Mike de Kock-trained Asiatic Boy ran well going a mile off a four-month layoff since his 1o1/8-mile UAE Derby victory. If he takes to the Juddmonte's extended 1 1/4 miles, he is capable of springing an upset.