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Toronado could clash with Al Kazeem at York

13 Aug 2013

We've had Goodwood's Duel on the Downs...now we might have something even more mouth-watering with the prospect of Britain's top two horses, Toronado and Al Kazeem, clashing in the Juddmonte International.

Will Toronado step up in trip next week? Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

You never know what might lie around the corner…that is the beauty of horse racing as the prospect of a stupendous clash between Toronado and Al Kazeem becomes a possibility in York’s 10 furlong Juddmonte International a week tomorrow.

With most sports, you know the fixture list and you have a pretty good idea what to expect, but with horse racing you can never be sure who might run in which race.

A clash between Al Kazeem, who ran out a brilliant winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park, notching a QIPCO British Champions Series performance rating of 126, and the QIPCO Sussex Stakes winner, Toronado, who also registered 126 in that race, would get the headline writers in a frenzy!

Ironically it was not something which Toronado did that makes his step up to a mile and a quarter a possibility.

It was his stablemate’s run in the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville on Sunday that has made it a tantalising option.

Olympic Glory, owned like Toronado by Sheikh Joann Al Thani, ran such a great race when almost beating Moonlight Cloud that he could be the one to campaign over a mile, while Toronado tries a bit further (indeed the Jacques Le Marois was run a few yards short of a mile – had it been a true mile, Olympic Glory would have defeated France’s star filly).

A step up in trip was always an option for Toronado, though it had been more likely for next season, and now it could materialise more quickly than anyone thought.

Riichad Hannon Jr said yesterday: "There is a chance Toronado might get a mile and a quarter anyway.

"Of the two, he is more likely to go further than Olympic Glory.

"The Juddmonte International is not out of the question, but we are just going to see how he goes this week. He had quite a tough race at Goodwood."

If Toronado makes a successful step up in trip, then the QIPCO Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter rather than the one mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes could become his QIPCO British Champions Day target, leaving Dawn Approach, who is on a course of antibiotics after mucus was found in his lungs after his tame display on Sunday, to take on Olympic Glory in the QE2.

Either way, being at Ascot on Saturday 19 October for Britain’s biggest raceday is becoming something of a ‘must’, just as Frankel made it the last two years.