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Postponed and Hawkbill on course for York International despite local virus

• Some of Varian’s string ‘below peak’ but Postponed ‘on track’ for York
• Charlie Appleby says his yard has escaped virus and Hawkbill ‘looks great’

The virus in Newmarket will not, it seems, undermine next week’s Juddmonte International Stakes, for which the two most fancied entrants are trained in the town. Both Postponed and Hawkbill were reported in good health by their trainers on Monday, which will be a source of some relief to the York race organisers, since Postponed missed last month’s King George after a dirty scope suggestive of infection and is based at the Roger Varian stable, which appears to have been affected by whatever bug is ailing the local equines.

Varian did not use the word virus but conceded: “We’ve been quieter than we would like to have been of late, with a number of horses not at peak health. It has slightly halted our good momentum from the first half of the season but we’re hoping to have horses running in strong numbers again soon.”

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