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Declaration Of War takes the Juddmonte International by storm

21 Aug 2013

The Queen Anne Stakes winner, who had chopped and changed between a mile and a mile and a quarter, gained his second Series victory with a fine win in the Juddmonte International at York this afternoon.

Declaration Of War takes the Juddmonte International. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

Some felt that the Queen Anne Stakes in the Mile division, which Declaration Of War won easily at Royal Ascot in June, was not the hottest of races and subsequently he was comfortably beaten by Al Kazeem when stepped up in trip in the Coral-Eclipse and by Toronado and Dawn Approach when tried again at a mile in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes.

He did run well in the Prix Jacques Le Marois, again over a mile, at Deauville earlier this month when he stayed on strongly in the closing stages, hinting that stepping back up to 10 furlongs might be the right move.

It certainly proved to be the case this afternoon as he tracked the leading duo, Trading Leather and Al Kazeem, and surged to the front a furlong out, running on strongly and clearly appreciating the fast ground.

The victory propelled Aidan O’Brien into the lead again in the Trainer of the Series table and moved his son, Joseph, into second place in the Jockey of the Series table.

Trading Leather ran his usual game race, making the running until headed by Al Kazeem two furlongs out, dropping to third when Declaration Of War made his move, but battling back to re-take second place close home.

He has now finished second in both the last two Middle Distance races.

Al Kazeem looked like he was feeling the fast ground.

Although he has won on it already this season, his trainer has always said he will be much happier on a softer surface and the QIPCO Champion Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day, which all three are entered for, could provide just that.

Al Kazeem was chasing his third Series win of the season, but still no horse other than Frankel has achieved that feat since the Series was launched in 2011.

Hillstar finished an honourable fourth, but the huge disappointment of the race was Toronado, who did not settle very well with a slower pace over a longer trip and was the first beaten with just over a quarter of a mile to go.

A re-match with Dawn Approach back over a mile in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day surely now awaits.

Joseph O’Brien, said: "I’m not sure if it was as much of a surprise to us as it was to a lot of people.

"In the Eclipse it was probably my fault. James (Doyle on Al Kazeem) got first run on me. I was only getting involved in the last 100 yards and it was all over.

"This lad is tough and hardy. He’s been running consistently well and a mile and a quarter on hard ground suits him lovely.

"He travelled very well, relaxed great and toughed it out to the line.

"We always thought you could drop him back in trip to six or seven furlongs. He was left in the Nunthorpe until the very end. Obviously five (furlongs) would have been a bit sharp for him, but he is hardy and handles fast ground very well."

Aidan O’Brien said: "He has such an unbelievable constitution, this horse, we’ve never had one like him.

"He’s had all these races but he never goes backwards. He’s in full work all the time at home.

"I know I said after Ascot that he’d go back in trip rather than forward, but I suppose there aren’t the races for him.

"He’s not lost a kilo all year and he has such a physique – he has to be busy as he does himself so well."

"There’s a lot (of horses) going there but he could go to Leopardstown (Irish Champion Stakes) now."

Richard Hannon jnr, the trainer’s son and assistant, said of the disappointing Toronado: "He just didn’t run his race. It wouldn’t have made a difference if it was over six furlongs, seven or a mile. It’s very disappointing.

"We’ll go through him at home and at least there are two months until the big mile races, it’s just a shame we didn’t see what he could do at this trip."