A small but select field lines up for the 2013 edition of the Juddmonte International at 3.40 tomorrow in York, with just 6 set to face the starter. Considering 8 horses took Frankel on in this last year, its perhaps surprising only 5 are willing to take Al Kazeem on in this. It’s true last years figures were inflated with a few pacemakers. With Toronado declared to run we have an interesting renewal to look forward to.

Tips for Juddmonte International


Al Kazeem has won all 4 of his starts so far in 2013, and after a group 3 win at Sandown to start his season off, he lines up here after wins at the Curragh, Ascot and again at Sandown, all 3 at the top level. It’s pretty obvious he’s a tough, consistent horse but he doesn’t appear to be a superstar, having looked pretty much all out for the last two of those wins, and it’s not as if the horses he’s beating are anything special. He beat Camelot at the Curragh, but any horse with pretensions of winning a top level group 1 like this, should do that. He then beat Mukhadram at Ascot, and that horse would have again chased him home, had he not hampered him when going past at Sandown. Mukhadram is a useful sort, but he made a meal of winning a group 2 since, and beating him a neck, and what would have been about 1 1/2l, doesn’t make you think your dealing with anything overly special.

It was left to another of today’s rivals Declaration of War to chase him home at Sandown, and again beating him 2l is something you’d expect a decent group 1 horse to do. Declaration Of War has got beaten by 5 horses, in 2 runs since that Sandown run. Indeed he finished further behind Toronado at Goodwood over a mile, then Al Kazeem beat him over 10 furlongs. A slight worry for Al Kazeem is that this race seems to be a bit of an afterthought. In the build up to the Eclipse, his trainer Roger Charlton stated that he was going to get a break after that race, and his preference was to bring him back for the Irish Champion, followed by the Arc. Did he get the full break that was intended, and if so is it possible they only decided to run here because the race looked like being easy pickings? If that’s the case he may not quite be at concert pitch yet, and he’ll likely need to be to win.


Toronado getting up late to win the Sussex Stakes.

Toronado getting up late to win the Sussex Stakes. (Photo by Meteorshoweryn)

Toronado looked like he’d want further than a mile at 3 last season, but ever since winning a slowly run Craven, showing blistering speed, he has looked more of a miler at 3. In the 2000 Guineas a combination of a  real good gallop, and his jockey kicking for home to far out, resulted in the race becoming a war of attrition, and it didn’t suit, as while Dawn Approach kept going, Toronado faded badly in the final furlong. Even at Ascot he traveled the best, but when the going got tough in the final furlong Dawn Approach appeared to outstay him. The bump he got that day didn’t help as it forced Richard Hughes to ask him before he would have wanted, and when he got the chance to ride a more patient race at Goodwood he timed it to perfection, picking Dawn Approach off late in a well run race. He had traveled much the best though, so the fact he came home stronger than the 2nd doesn’t mean he wants further, he was just using the energy he saved, by being waited with for longer.

Trading Leather started off this season at York in the Dante and ran well to finish 2nd to Libertarian. He then ran very well to finish 3rd in the Irish Guineas, as he received a terrible ride, going off far to fast. After an easy win back over 10 furlongs, he then won the Irish Derby at the Curragh. The form of that is nothing special, as the middle distance colts in the UK and Ireland look a poor bunch this year. Last time out Trading Leather took on the older horses in the King George, and while Cirrus Des Aigles didn’t look anywhere near the horse he was last season, thus making the race look well below par for a King George, Trading Leather still came out of the race with a good bit of credit.

He took quite a hold early, and for some reason his jockey chose to sit 3 wide, on the outside of the 2 leaders, rather than tuck in behind them, for a good bit of the early parts of the race. As they approached the turn into the straight Trading Leather looked to be going every bit as well as the winner Novellist, but that one mastered him soon after straightening up. It was to Trading Leather’s credit that he kept going well enough for 2nd though, holding tomorrow’s rival, Hillstar, for that position. Trading Leather shaped like he can do a good deal better when settling properly, and it could be tomorrow’s trip will prove to be his optimum. With no obvious pace in the race he may also get an easy lead, and surely Kevin Manning will use it wiser than he did in the Irish Guineas.

Declaration Of War is a good horse, but he’s pretty exposed as slightly below this level now, with both of the favorites taking his measure recently. I see no reason why he should be capable of doing much better than what he’s done, and as such he’s dependent on a few others running below form if he’s to win. That said he doesn’t have too much to find, and he is likely to run his race, despite coming here on the back of a hectic schedule.

Hillstar has been progressive but despite Trading Leather pulling hard and fading late in the King George, he still couldn’t get past him for second. Unlike Trading Leather he looked like he wanted every yard of the trip, and it’s doubtful if this drop in trip will suit. He has been getting better with racing though, so he could come on again. That said he will surely need to. Rewarded doesn’t look to have any chance unless the race gets really messy, and he steals a march or something similar.

Tactics tomorrow will play a big part. I think Toronado is a better miler, than Al Kazeem is over 10 furlongs, but with this race being 10 furlongs and 88 yards, the conditions are in the later’s favour. I think Trading Leather will need a personal best to win this, but he did suggest he was capable of improving last time, when a lot went wrong, but he still ran a solid race. Having already run well over the track, he may get a soft lead here, and with the trip likely to prove his optimum he looks easily the best bet at the current prices.

[adrotate banner=”79″] are offering 8/1 on him, but I think he’s a better bet at 7/1 with [adrotate banner=”57″] who are offering money back if your horse finishes 2nd to the SP favourite in any race televised on Channel 4 this week. With a refund up to €100 per customer this is a good offer, and should be kept in mind when placing your bets. If you don’t have an account you can also get a free €50 bet when signing up.


Juddmonte International Tips – 3.40 York


2 points Each Way Trading Leather at 7/1 BOG with Paddy Power

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