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Sri Putra To Bid For Repeat Success At York


6:00am 27th July 2013

Sri Putra will seek to defend his crown in this Saturday’s feature contest at York, the £100,000 Group 2 Sky Bet York Stakes.

Trained by Roger Varian, Sri Putra won the event, run over an extended mile and a quarter, twelve months ago when he launched a thrilling late challenge, coming from last first to pip Afsare on the line.

The son of Oasis Dream, who remains an ‘entire’ horse aged seven, has been a grand servant to connections with four Group wins to his name, as well as a string of placed efforts at Group 1 level.

He has failed to fire in his two starts this season but Varian is hoping that the ‘spark’ still remains and that his charge can run a big race today.

He said: “Sri Putra looks and seems in great form. He hasn’t really performed in his two starts this season but things haven’t really gone his way and on homework he is no lesser horse than when he won the race last year.

“Obviously he is not getting any younger but I am very happy with him and hope he can run well today.”

Six of the contenders, including Sri Putra, also hold early entries for the richest race ever to be run at York, the £750,000 Group One Juddmonte International, which is staged over the same trip on the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. Form followers will recall that the Sir Henry Cecil trained, Twice Over, obliged in both Knavesmire races in 2011.

Varian has also entered Dancewiththedevil, a multiple Group 1 winner in her native South Africa. She finished eighth on her British debut in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot and her trainer feels she has improved for that run.

He said: “Dancewiththedevil has come on plenty for her first run. She seems very well but will only run if the forecast showers arrive and there is some give in the ground.”

Newmarket stables have had a stranglehold on the race, winning the last seven runnings and they look to have a strong hand again this year, accounting for 12 of the 16 entries. Among them is the William Haggas-trained Mukhadram, who has finished placed in both the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Eclipse Stakes in recent weeks.

There is also a very international look to the entry with US Grade 1-winner Unbridled Command (now trained by Ed Dunlop) and German-raider Neatico (Peter Schiergen) among the possible participants.

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