JUDDMONTE INTERNATIONAL STAKES
19 AUGUST 2015
(British Champions Series)
(CLASS 1) (3yo+) (1m2F88y)
Aidan O’Brien, as is so often the case in these Group 1s, is the trainer to follow with four winners since 2008. John Oxx and the late Sir Henry Cecil are the only other trainers to have tasted success in that period but neither are represented this year.
It has been a happy hunting ground for favourites, with six of the last eight obliging, and some real superstars have won it, including Frankel in 2012 and Sea The Stars back in 2009. The big question this year is whether Golden Horn can cement his place among such illustrious company and maintain his perfect unbeaten record.
1. COUGAR MOUTAIN (A O’BRIEN/HEFFERNAN)
Seen as a potential Group 1 horse by connections, but has come up short on his seven runs so far at that level. Only added to his 3yo debut win at Leopardstown this month, landing the odds in a Group 3 at Leopardstown.
His best run came over a mile at Royal Ascot behind Solow in the Queen Anne, and he shaped as though he was crying out for a step up in trip on that occasion. However, he got that step up in trip next time out in the Eclipse at Sandown, and was firmly put in his place behind today’s favourite Golden Horn. It is difficult to see him reversing the form, and even if he produces his best a place is probably the best he can hope for. 40/1 an accurate reflection of his chance.
2. CRITERION (HAYES/BUICK)
Classy Aussie 5yo who has three Group 1 wins to his name, all on soft ground, and two at today’s trip of 10F (the other came at 12F). Plenty of high class form on quick ground too, including a good run behind Free Eagle in the Prince Of Wales at Royal Ascot (10F good to firm), so is versatile when it comes to underfoot conditions.
Only rated a couple of pounds lower than the likes of Gleneagles and The Grey Gatsby so theoretically he doesn’t have to find much to get close to those two rivals. If the rains were to arrive and conditions deteriorate this horse will come right into the reckoning. The forecast is dry though, and if the ground is good or quicker the best Criterion can hope for is a place. Can currently be backed at 28/1, and at that sort of price he represents a little bit of value from an each way perspective, particularly if there is any moisture in the ground.
3. DICK DOUGHTYWYLIE (GOSDEN/HAVLIN)
Rank outsider who represents the same connections as Golden Horn. This will be his first start in over a year and he couldn’t have found a more difficult race to make his comeback in. He has heaps to find on the ratings, and is likely here to ensure a strong pace for his stable mate Golden Horn. Can be backed at odds of 150/1 and that is an accurate reflection of his chance.
4. THE GREY GATSBY (RYAN/SPENCER)
Gutsy grey 4yo colt that has assumed the role of bridesmaid on three of his four runs this season. Desperately unlucky not to lower the colours of Free Eagle at Ascot (Criterion and The Corsican well behind) when he was denied a clear run at a vital time. Dual Group 1 winner last year, including a brilliant defeat of Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
Took on Golden Horn last time out in the Eclipse at Sandown, and was beaten fair and square, with no apparent excuses. Is 3lbs better off at the weights today, but it will take more than that if he is to reverse the form with the Gosden horse. A supporting role looks the most likely outcome for The Grey Gatsby again today, and he has each way claims at 11/1.
5. GLENEAGLES (AIDAN O’BRIEN/JOSEPH O’BRIEN)
The second representative from Ballydoyle, and is a fascinating contender. First past the post on all eight starts since his debut defeat in a maiden, and the last five of those have come at the highest level. Looked ultra-impressive when he easily landed the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on his first run over a mile, and followed up in the Irish equivalent. He was kept to that trip in the St James Palace at Royal Ascot, and again ran out an easy winner.
The big unknown with this horse is the trip, as today will be his first run beyond a mile. His full sister Marvellous, also an Irish Guineas winner, struggled when stepped up to 12F for the Irish and English Oaks. His dam was probably best over a mile too, but her brother, Giants Causeway, was a triple Group 1 winner over 10F, including this race in 2000.
If he stays the trip he will be the biggest threat to Golden Horn, but he still has a fair few pounds to find if the official ratings are to be believed. Gosden is running a pacemaker to ensure the race doesn’t turn into a tactical affair, which would play into Gleneagles’ hands as he possesses a scintillating turn of foot. A searching gallop over this trip will expose any stamina issues, if they exist, and it will be interesting to see if Gleneagles has the same finishing burst of speed over 10F as he does over 8F. His current price of 7/2 looks a bit skinny to me given the issues outlined above, but if he follows in Giants Causeway’s hoof prints and gets the trip he will be a massive danger to all.
6. GOLDEN HORN (GOSDEN/DETTORI)
Unbeaten 3yo colt by Cape Cross who has won the Epsom Derby and the Eclipse on his last two starts. Had a few of today’s rivals behind in the Eclipse, where he won with the authority expected of him. Is the highest rated in the field by quite some distance, and is a worthy favourite. Gets a handy few pounds from his older rivals too, as if their task wasn’t difficult enough already!
The only worry would be if the race was slowly run and became tactical, as it is doubtful that would suit this relentless galloper. However, the presence of his stable companion Dick Doughtywylie should ensure that scenario doesn’t unfold, and barring accidents he should be very difficult to beat. Is currently a best priced 8/11, and he is well deserving of his place at the head of the market.
7. TIME TEST (CHARLTON/SMULLEN)
3yo son of Dubawi who was one of the most visually impressive winners at Royal Ascot on his first run at Group 3 level (10F good to firm). He travelled beautifully that day and quickened up in the manner of a useful sort, leaving the field trailing in his wake. He has three wins from five starts, and is unbeaten in two this year.
However, the form of that Ascot race has been let down by a few of those in behind, with the likes of Disegno, Mustadeem and Maftool all running poorly since. Time Test can’t be blamed for that though and he could do no more than beat what was in front of him on the day. His dam won the Musidora here, and is a half-sister to Timepiece, so there is plenty of encouragement to be gleaned from his pedigree. It is a big step up in class for him in this race though, and it remains to be seen if he belongs at this level. Can be backed at 11/2 but is probably best watched on his first run in a Group 1 contest.
8. ARABIAN QUEEN (ELSWORTH/DE SOUSA)
The sole filly in the race who comes here on the back of a super run in third behind Legatissimo in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood (10F good to firm). That was her first run over the trip, and she showed she stays it well, despite the fact that she proved difficult to settle early on in the race. That has been a recurring theme with this filly, and she needs to sort that problem out if she is to get her head in front again.
However, she looks to have bitten off more than she can chew in this event, and even if she does settle it is difficult to see her troubling the best of these. She can be backed at 66/1 and this looks to be an accurate reflection of her chance.
This is all about one horse according to the bookies, and for once it is difficult to disagree with them. GOLDEN HORN will go off an odds on favourite, and it is difficult to find any negatives regarding his chances. Ground and trip are both ideal, he is the highest rated by some distance and with his weight for age allowance he will be a tough nut to crack.
Of the opposition Gleneagles is a most interesting contender, and it will be fascinating to see how this top notch miler gets on over the extra two furlongs. With a searching pace almost guaranteed a watching brief is advised, as there are enough doubts raised regarding stamina in his pedigree . Time Test takes a big step up in class, whilst The Grey Gatsby looks sure to run his usual solid race.
Criterion looks the most likely of the outsiders to run well, and punters looking for an each way alternative to the favourite could do worse than have a small interest on the Aussie raider, especially if there is rain.
GOLDEN HORN (8/11)
THE GREY GATSBY (11/1)