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, 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.
We have a high-quality renewal in store this year with a glut of previous Group 1 winning form on show. Overall though we will be siding with one who has proven himself at the top level this season, and only went down narrowly in the race of the season last time out.
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.
1m2½f is the trip for this Group 1 affair, set to be run on good to soft going this year and offering a total of £1million in prize money.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good To Soft||1m2½f||Group 1||£1,000,000||10 Runners||1/5 1-3|
Juddmonte International Stakes Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from the last running of the race. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Always one of the top all-age contests of the season, this year’s edition looks well up to scratch with high quality entries from both the three year old and older horse divisions. Aidan O’Brien and Sir Michael Stoute have 11 wins in the race between them, and both are well represented this year, as is last season’s winning handler John Gosden. With heavy rain forecast in the build-up though, stamina may be very much to the fore this year.
CRYSTAL’S CLAIMS ARE CLEAR
With star fillies Enable and Magical on a collision course to clash in the Yorkshire Oaks later in the week, it is now the Sir Michael Stoute-trained runner, Crystal Ocean, who is clear favourite for this year’s edition, and its not too hard to see why. Going down by just a neck to Enable in a pulsating finish to the King George last time out, he’s a proven Group 1 winner, 7lbs clear of the field on official ratings, and looks the one they all have to beat. With career form figures of 121 on soft ground, including a Group 1 win in this season’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes, it’s tough to find many holes in his chances.
O’BRIEN TRIPLE THREAT
Irish champion trainer Aidan O’Brien looks set to go with a three-pronged attack as he bids to draw level with Sir Michael Stoute in the trainer’s table, with his Epsom Derby representatives, Anthony Van Dyck, Japan and Circus Maximus all amongst the current entries.
Anthony Van Dyck of course won that Classic contest which entitles him to plenty of respect. He did bomb out very badly against his elders in the King George last time out though. Japan meanwhile does look a high class performer and landed a first career Group 1 in France last time out. However, his only previous effort at the trip saw him well beaten into fourth in the Dante over this course and distance.
Possibly the most solid of the O’Brien runners is St. James’ Palace Stakes winner Circus Maximus. A perfect one from one at this trip, he ran a sound race behind Too Darn Hot at Goodwood last time out and seems likely to go well.
GOSDEN LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE WINNERS ENCLOSURE?
Other than the O’Brien trio, the only other three year old in this year’s field is the John Gosden-trained son of Kingman, King Of Comedy. Never out of the first two in five career starts to date, this one wasn’t deemed quite ready to take in the early season Classics, but showed he is by no means out of place at the top table when going down by just a neck in the St. James Palace Stakes last time out.
Absolutely flying home in that 1m good-ground contest, he surely would have won in another stride and seems likely to be suited by stepping up to 1m2f for the first time. The ground does pose a question mark, but his sire handled soft well enough and this one shouldn’t be too far away.
Final Verdict: Crystal Ocean To Win
An intriguing renewal in store and whilst it will be interesting to see how the classy Japan and promising King Of Comedy get on amongst the three year olds, for us the form of the older runners looks that bit stronger this year. Crystal Ocean’s gallant second to Enable last time out suggests he has taken another step forward this season and he looks tough to beat here.
Juddmonte International Stakes Winners
Open to all runners aged three and older, there doesn’t appear to have been much in the way of an age bias in recent years, with four wins for the three years olds, four for the four year olds, and two for the older runners in the past 10 years.
Sir Michael Stoute leads the way amongst the trainers with six wins in total. Hot on his heels though is Aidan O’Brien with five victories.
|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|
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.
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:
INTERNATIONAL STAKES WINNER’S SUBSEQUENT FORM: 2017 – 2017
|Year||International Stakes Winner||Form in Subsequent Races|
|2013||Declaration Of War||3|
|2010||Rip Van Winkle||22|
|2008||Duke Of Marmalade||79|
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 unpredicted 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.
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 2018) 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|