08/15/2016 2:48PM

Postponed cuts back in Juddmonte International Stakes

Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
Postponed, training at Meydan, comes into the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes on a five-race winning streak.

Postponed already has proven himself among the very best 1 1/2-mile horses in the world, and on Wednesday at York he will try to expand his Group 1 repertoire to 1 1/4 miles in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes.

Postponed has 12 rivals and is part of a strong group, but his task was made easier when Time Test was taken out of consideration for the International due to what his connections called a “flat” final workout for the race. Time Test, more proven over 1 1/4 miles, last out beat Mondialiste, who returned to win the Arlington Million.

The International, expected to be contested on good-to-firm ground and run over 10 furlongs 88 yards, was always said to be on the agenda for Postponed, but the horse’s campaign was interrupted by an illness that forced him to miss the King George Stakes last month at Ascot, a race in which he would have been heavily favored.

Trainer Roger Varian said this week that Postponed appears to have returned to his rugged regular self, and both Varian and jockey Andrea Atzeni have expressed confidence in Postponed’s ability to successfully step down in trip Wednesday. Postponed has a five-race winning streak – all in Group 1s and 2s – dating to last season, and in his two most recent starts won the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic and the Group 1 Coronation Cup by open lengths.

The 3-year-old Hawkbill, who gets an eight-pound break in the weights, 132 to 124, and 4-year-old Highland Reel look like the main dangers. Hawkbill is on a six-race winning streak of his own and stepped up to face older horses last out in the Group 1 Eclipse, which he won over fellow 3-year-old The Ghurka. Hawkbill’s last three starts came at 1 1/4 miles, and getting weight from the favorite he could be a value play to win the race.

Highland Reel took advantage of Postponed’s absence to win the King George at Ascot last month, but Postponed beat him by more than four lengths when they met this past spring in Dubai.

The Grey Gatsby could outrun his odds in the International. He has lost eight times in a row, but his last win came over 1 1/4 miles on good-to-firm ground in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes last fall.

The Ghurka’s career could be over

The Ghurka, the Aidan O’Brien-trained 3-year-old who won the French 2000 Guineas and the Sussex Stakes this year, might be forced into retirement by a twisted colon. The Ghurka underwent surgery to correct the serious problem Friday, and was said to have come out of the procedure well, but at the least he will not race again this season.

* Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Found tops the list of possible starters in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks on Thursday at York.