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Series stars to stud: Declaration of War

18 Dec 2013

In our final feature of Series stars to stud, we take a look back at the Juddmonte International Stakes and Royal Ascot winner, Declaration of War.

Declaration of War powering his way to Juddmonte International Stakes glory at York. Image copyright of Laurence Squire.

As a three-year-old, Declaration of War was considered classy, but not overly flashy. A victory in the Group 3 Diamond Stakes last year set up the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt for an exciting career at four. However, he would go on to further surpass his connections’ expectations in 2013.

On his seasonal reappearance, Declaration of War won the Listed Heritage Stakes at Leopardstown comfortably. The victory indicated that the son of War Front could be a candidate for the Champions Series’ Mile and Middle Distance divisions, with the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury particularly in mind.

Despite favouritism at the West Berkshire track, Declaration of War, for one reason or another, did not perform to his best on his British debut, ending up 11 and a half lengths behind the future QIPCO Champion Stakes victor, Farhh.

However, the performance did not deter connections.

The Coolmore-owned colt was then aimed at the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, where he excelled on the grandest stage of them all.

With a surging run under jockey Joseph O’Brien, Declaration of War stretched three quarters of a length clear of Aljamaaheer to take the Group 1 prize, with eventual Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes winner, Elusive Kate, three and a quarter lengths back in fourth.

O’Brien would go on to take the four-year-old to Sandown Park for the Coral-Eclipse, finishing second to Roger Charlton’s Al Kazeem, and then to Glorious Goodwood, claiming third place behind Toronado and Dawn Approach in the famous ‘Duel on the Downs’ clash in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes.

It was at York, though, that Declaration of War fully demonstrated why his connections were confident in him.

With Toronado and Al Kazeem both in contention for the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, it was the Queen Anne champion that soared clear on the Knavesmire, beating Jim Bolger’s Irish Derby winner Trading Leather by one and a quarter lengths.

Declaration of War would go on to finish a narrow third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, before now being retired to Coolmore’s Co. Tipperary-based stud in Ireland.

The two-time British Champion Series champion is set to stand alongside the world’s best stallions, including Galileo, High Chaparral and Holy Roman Emperor.