There are many highlights over the four days of York’s Ebor meeting, but there’s certainly a case to be made that the very best of the lot comes on the opening day. With a whopping £1million in total prize money on offer (2019), the Juddmonte International is the richest contest of the week and regularly attracts a field befitting both its Group 1 status and the significant loot up for grabs.
The race was first run in 1972 and has been sponsored by thoroughbred breeders Juddmonte since 1989. In the 50 plus years since the inaugural running greats such as Giant’s Causeway, Falbrav, Sea The Stars and Frankel have all claimed victory.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 19th August 2020
- Winner: Ghaiyyath
- SP: 11/8
- Trainer: Charlie Appleby
- Jockey: William Buick
The Juddmonte International Stakes is always one of the best races of the whole Ebor Festival at York and in fact a highlight of the Flat season. This Group 1 is an open contest for both sexes and for horses aged three and older so it tends to attract varied and interesting fields. That is very much the case for this year’s renewal in which a good case can be made for most of the small field of six runners.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good||1m2f||Group 1||£274,000||6||1/4 1-2|
Juddmonte International Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
This has been a Flat racing season like no other but over the last couple of weeks things have started to feel a bit more normal. The season has a familiar feel to it now with events largely being run at their usual time and place. As is typically the case when it comes to August, the best three-year-olds in training have really found their stride of late and their upcoming battles against older horses in the weeks to come are as mouthwatering as ever.
The battle between three-year-olds and those aged four and older is always key to the Juddmonte International. The older horses generally hold an edge over the Classic generation but three-year-olds carry just 8st 13lb compared to 9st 6lb for their elders.
That weight difference was enough for Japan and Roaring Lion to win in 2019 and 2018 respectively but it was a four and five-year-old - Ulysses and Postponed - who won this contest the two years prior. The last 10 years have seen four three-year-old winners compared with six aged between four and six so age isn’t really a great angle into this one.
|Ghaiyyath||11/8||127||Charlie Appleby||William Buick|
|Kameko||4/1||119||Andrew Balding||Oisin Murphy|
|Magical||4/1||122||Aidan O'Brien||Ryan Moore|
Ghaiyyath - 11/8
If any horse has shown how tough it can be to coax the best out of precocious thoroughbreds it is Ghaiyyath. Since winning two races as a two-year-old nobody has been in any doubt that the Godolphin horse has a tremendous amount of natural ability but even a trainer of Charlie Appleby’s class and experience has struggled to get a tune out of Ghaiyyath with any sort of regularity.
The two main issues for Ghaiyyath in his career so far have been a tendency to get too worked up before a race and not being able to string together two performances in quick succession.
His temperament problems meant he was fairly easy to oppose for the Coronation Cup in June after his return from Dubai. He was an excellent winner of that race though, with a front running performance that sapped the pace out of his rivals. It was not long until he was quickly doing the same to another top class field in the Coral-Eclipse.
Whether it’s the lack of fans at racecourses currently or extra maturity as a five-year-old, we are really seeing the very best of Ghaiyyath now. The only real concern for his backers is if the ground softens up on Wednesday as he does love firmer conditions underfoot. That slight issue aside, Ghaiyyath is the right favourite for the Juddmonte International at fair looking odds of 11/8.
Kameko - 4/1
Kameko was a very good winner of the 2,000 Guineas at the start of the compressed season but was subsequently unable to win either of his next two starts. It is far too early to start writing off his chances of earning another Group 1 win as a three-year-old though and he must have a better chance in the Juddmonte International than his odds of 4/1 suggest.
After winning the Guineas, connections simply had to run Kameko in the Derby even if he predictably failed to properly get the trip. He then returned to one mile for the Sussex Stakes where he was one of the market principles in arguably the race of the season so far.
There is some debate among racing fans as to whether Kameko would have been able to beat Mohaather in that Goodwood spectacular were it not for some serious trouble in running that hemmed him in. Oisin Murphy was convinced that his mount still had plenty to give when crossing the line but the winner also had problems to overcome so second is probably the best Kameko could have achieved.
Second would still have been a very good result and fourth was good enough given all the problems he encountered and the feeling that 1 mile 2 furlongs is the trip to bring the best out of him. If that proves to be correct then Kameko will be the main danger to Ghaiyyath so that 4/1 is very tempting indeed.
Magical - 4/1
Much of horse racing is about timing. Some horses get to dominate their division of racing because there isn’t enough top class opposition to really challenge them whilst others run into a generational horse who leaves them in their shadow. Unfortunately for Magical, she is in the latter camp. The Ballydoyle filly is sheer class but has so far had the misfortune of running into the brilliant Enable when going for the biggest prizes of all.
Enable is not running in the Juddmonte International but still the bookies believe that Magical will find at least one too good for her on the day. That may be a mistake. Now a fully grown and very strong four-year-old, Magical is ready to win at the very top level.
Anybody in any doubt about Magical’s class need only look at her two runs so far this season. She was the most comfortable winner of a pair of Group 1s you are likely to see and with those runs under her belt could well be primed for a massive run at York.
Juddmonte International Winners
|2020||Ghaiyyath||11/8||Charlie Appleby||William Buick|
|2019||Japan||5/1||Aidan O'Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2018||Roaring Lion||3/1||John Gosden||Oisin Murphy|
|2017||Ulysses||4/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Jim Crowley|
|2016||Postponed||15/8||Roger Varian||Andrea Atzeni|
|2015||Arabian Queen||50/1||David Elsworth||Silvestre De Sousa|
|2014||Australia||8/13||Aidan O’Brien||Joseph O’Brien|
|2013||Declaration Of War||7/1||Aidan O'Brien||Joseph O'Brien|
|2012||Frankel||1/10||Sir Henry Cecil||Tom Queally|
|2011||Twice Over||11/2||Sir Henry Cecil||Ian Mongan|
About the Juddmonte International: One of the World’s Great Races
Headlining the opening day of the Ebor Festival is York Racecourse’s most valuable event of the season, the one mile, two furlong Juddmonte International Stakes. Not only does it boast a prize fund in excess of £1m but it stands as one of the highest rated flat races on the British racing calendar. Although youthful compared to many other races held during the Ebor Festival, its relatively short history has been a quite glorious one, with some of the best horses around taking glory.
It’s not too often a race is so well known by its sponsored title but Juddmonte Farms have sponsored the International Stakes for so long it’s hard not to link them to the contest. Having initially signed a deal supporting the race in 1989, you’ll find many keen racegoers refer to this Group 1 event as the Juddmonte International, or just the Juddmonte. Prior to this, the event was ran under two different guises, firstly the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup and later the Matchmaker International.
Ensuring the field is always full of big names is the lack of eligibility restrictions. Being aged three-years-old and up is the only requirement and those at the minimum age are aided by a seven pound advantage over older competitors. Fillies and mares are also given a three pound helping hand although their involvement in this race is quite limited nowadays.
A MEMORABLE DEBUT
While far from the oldest Group 1 contest around, you won’t find anyone accusing the International Stakes of having no history. Its first appearance in 1972 remains as one of the greatest debuts of any major horse race and it’s only gone from strength to strength since. The inaugural running of the now internationally recognised event was so special because it saw the mighty Brigadier Gerard beaten for the one and only time in his career.
Timeform rated the Vincent O’Brien-trained horse higher than any other in 1972 which is why he began the race as the overwhelming odds-on favourite. Despite having the backing of the punters, a once in a lifetime display from the American-bred Roberto forced him to taste defeat for the first ever time. It was a truly astonishing performance from Roberto who shattered the course record during a three length victory.
Benson And Hedges Gold Cup 1972 Result
|1||Roberto (12/1)||3||8st 10lbs||Vincent O’Brien||Braulio Baeza|
|2||Brigadier Gerard (1/2)||4||9st 7lbs||Dick Hern||Joe Mercer|
|3||Gold Rod||5||9st 7lbs||Reg Akehurst||Willie Carson|
|4||Rheinegold||3||8st 10lbs||Barry Hills||Lester Piggott|
|5||Bright Beam||5||9st 7lbs||Ian Balding||Geoff Lewis|
A FINAL MOMENT IN THE SPOTLIGHT
For many winners of the Juddmonte International, it proves to be their last ever victory in a major race. Typically horses are retired to stud a few months after clinching glory in the increasingly lucrative contest, unable to grab another win later in the season before they do.
The three exceptions to the rule since 2007 have been Roaring Lion, Frankel and Sea The Stars, who all ended their careers with at least one more big win. For the remaining horses though, their lack of success afterwards is available to see below:
ARABIAN QUEEN DELIVERS A SHOCK FOR THE AGES
Since the turn of the new millennium, there has been little in the way of major shocks in this race. 10 favourites have triumphed and the longest priced winner, prior to Arabian Queen’s unbelievable win, had been 8/1. Serving us a reminder that every horse that takes to the stalls always has some chance, however small, the three-year-old filly secured a completely unpredictable and rare win for the girls.
Her stunning victory came during the 2015 running of the Juddmonte International, a race where Golden Horn set off as the 4/9 favourite. Things never went according to plan for the odds-on option though but he was able to draw level with Arabian Queen inside the final furlong. To the surprise of almost everyone inside the racecourse though, the 50/1 filly resisted the challenge to claim a narrow victory on the good to soft Knavesmire turf.
A RACE OF FINE MARGINS
While the field definitely tends to stretch out towards the end of this 10 furlong race, it’s often hard to spot the winner as they approach the final furlong. Occasionally you’ll see one horse run away with the contest but this is not usual when taking a look at past results. More often than not there’s little to separate the leading two or three challengers as they close in on the finishing post. The margin of victory is regularly so small that it all it takes is a slight error of judgement from a jockey to produce a completely different outcome.
The only major anomaly of recent times was Frankel’s devastating victory in 2007. The 1/10 favourite was expected to win comfortably and he did just that after finishing in typically emphatic style. With two furlongs to go, Tom Queally shook up the four-year-old and the response was immediate as Frankel began, almost instantly, to pull away from his rivals. With the field unable to rival his pace, Sir Henry Cecil’s horse continued to extend his advantage, finishing seventh lengths clear of Farhh in second and further enhancing his reputation as one of the greatest racehorses ever. Along with Sakhee’s 7l win in 2001, these are the widest winning margins this century.
DETTORI STRIKES AGAIN
His long-running appearance on Question of Sport helped make Frankie Dettori a household name in Britain but few will be aware of his father, Gianfranco. Dettori senior mainly raced in Italy but did enjoy some success in England too with his 1976 triumph in the International Stakes one of his biggest victories. Little did father or son know it then, but Frankie would go on to follow in his father’s footsteps, claiming his first win in this race in 1996. Four more victories (as of 2019) have followed since, putting him alongside Lester Piggott as the event’s leading jockey. Can Frankie make the record his own in the years to come?
FRANKIE DETTORI’S INTERNATIONAL STAKES VICTORIES
|2004||Sulamani||Saeed bin Suroor||2:11.82|
|2001||Sakhee||Saeed bin Suroor||2:08.27|
|1997||Singspiel||Sir Michael Stoute||2:12.10|
|1996||Halling||Saeed bin Suroor||2:06.88|