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The Juddmonte International Stakes

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History

The Juddmonte International Stakes, the last middle-distance QIPCO British Champions Series race before the QIPCO Champion Stakes provides the glittering climax to the category on QIPCO British Champions Day, is a race with a short but glorious history.

The event, run at York over 1 miles, 2 furlongs and 88 yards (2,090 metres), first appeared in 1972. But what an appearance! American-bred Roberto, a Derby winner and named after baseball star Roberto Clemente, became the first – and last – horse to beat Brigadier Gerard.

There have been other notable highlights in this Group 1 race for three-year-olds or older – Troy, the 1979 Derby winner, Commanche Run, the 1984 St Leger winner, two-time winner Halling and Giant’s Causeway, rated Europe’s top horse in 2000.

And then, of course, there was Sea The Stars, who took the race in 2009 – the same year he won an incredible six Group 1 races within six months, including the 2000 Guineas, Investec Derby and Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.

Frankel captured the race in 2012 as he recorded his 13th success from as many starts with a seven-length demolition of his rivals. Derby winner Australia, won it two years later, while Roaring Lion won in 2018 en route to being named Cartier Horse of the Year.

If you’re looking for the best quiz question concerning the Juddmonte International Stakes, then try this one – what is the family name of the jockey who has entered the winner’s enclosure six times? Answer – Dettori, with six wins (although only the last five of those went to Frankie. The first went to his father Gianfranco in 1976. That would have been a tad early for Frankie, who was five years old at the time).

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 5 wins (1996-7, 2001, 2004, 2007)
Current leading trainer: Sir Michael Stoute, 6 wins (1986, 1993-4, 1997, 2006, 2017), Aidan O’Brien 6 wins (2000, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2019)

Previous winners

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Japan edges out Crystal Ocean in thriller

 

Japan edged out Crystal Ocean in a thrilling finish to the Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

The pair served up a terrific climax to the extended ten-furlong showpiece, which forms part of the Middle Distance category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Ryan Moore on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Japan (5-1) just got the better of James Doyle on Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean.

Japan’s stablemate Circus Maximus set the pace with Crystal Ocean alongside him. Stoute’s admirable five-year-old hit the front a long way out, but could not get sufficiently clear of the opposition.

Although he knuckled down in typically game fashion, Crystal Ocean was caught by Japan in the dying strides and succumbed by a head to the Investec Derby third, who was giving O’Brien a record-equalling sixth win in the race, along with Stoute.

The supplemented Elarqam was a length away in third.

O’Brien said: “From the start he has been good and I couldn’t be happier.

“We didn’t want to overdo it earlier in the year as we were thinking of the autumn. We rushed him to the Dante and every run since then has been a step up – he’s stepping up all the way.

“Horses progress and you’re never sure which is the best. We don’t look at them like that home and let them progress from race to race.

“This horse would have no problem stepping back up in trip – he’s very comfortable at a mile and a half.”

Acknowledging another gallant performance from Crystal Ocean, whose season has also included victory in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and a neck second to Enable in the King George, Stoute said: “Yes all of that, just didn’t win.”

Mark Johnston was pleased to see the faith shown in Elarqam rewarded, but left slightly wondering what might have been.

The Middleham trainer said: “He was obviously very keen early on and he got caught off the bridle a couple out, but he has come back with a vengeance.

“Jim (Crowley) felt had he let him stride on early on then he might’ve won it. Had they come up the middle, as they have done in every race for the last five years, he might have won anyway.

“So it’s frustrating, but it certainly confirms beyond any doubts that he had class, so that’s reassuring.”

Fourth home was the John Gosden-trained King Of Comedy, for whom things did not go quite to plan.

Gosden said: “He stumbled out of the gate and was then too keen for three furlongs. He eventually settled into a rhythm, came with a nice looking run, but paid the price for having used too much petrol early.

“He’d have been a good third. He’s still quite young and I think when he learns to race more professionally he’ll give them a real race.

“We’ll back away now, we’re not going to go to Ireland, we’ll freshen him up, give him a racecourse gallop and go for the QEII [on QIPCO British Champions day on October 19].”

Results

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The Course

The city of York and its racecourse have a long and colourful history, involving – among others - the Vikings, the Romans, Pope John Paul II, highwayman Dick Turpin, and the Princess Royal.

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There’s no official record of the Vikings racing horses at York – they apparently preferred sacking and pillaging – but the Romans certainly did, during the reign of Emperor Severus 2,000 years ago. Severus, indeed, breathed his final breath in ‘Eboracum’ – that’s Roman for York. So did Turpin. He was hanged at the Knavesmire racecourse site in 1739. Pope John Paul II enjoyed a friendlier reception, lauded by 200,000 pilgrims at an open-air mass in 1982, while Princess Anne also enjoyed huge support when winning the Queen Mother’s Cup on Insular in 1988.

The North Yorkshire track, voted Racecourse of the Year in 2003, continues to attract the crowds today, with around 350,000 flocking through the gates each year. York comes into its own during the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival in August, the meeting boasting such races as the Juddmonte International Stakes, part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, and the totesport Ebor Handicap. Lester Piggott won the Ebor Handicap a record five times – the first in 1958 and the last 25 years later, in 1983.

Getting there

Tadcaster Rd York,
York
YO23 1EX

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