x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Declaration Of War sticking around the top tier of horse racing

Another Group 1 victory for Declaration Of War could earn the American runner a tilt at Breeders' Cup, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Joseph O’Brien rides Declaration Of War, centre, to a win in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York Racecourse on Wednesday. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Joseph O’Brien rides Declaration Of War, centre, to a win in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York Racecourse on Wednesday. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

York, England// Aidan O'Brien once had a horse called Giant's Causeway, who was known throughout the world as the "Iron Horse". After Declaration Of War won the Juddmonte International Stakes on Wednesday the Ballydoyle handler may well have found another.

Declaration Of War proved far too good for Trading Leather in the Group 1 event, beating Jim Bolger's Irish Derby winner by a length and a quarter with favourite Al Kazeem a laboured third. It was Declaration Of War's seventh race this season and sixth consecutive appearance at the highest level.

The four-year-old colt is an American-bred son of War Front, who ran down the field in the 2006 Breeders' Cup Sprint, and Declaration Of War could be heading to California in November for America's self-styled World Championships, where Giant's Causeway was edged out in the Classic in 2000.

"He has such an unbelievable constitution and we've never had one like him," winning trainer Aidan O'Brien said. "He's had all these races, but he never goes backwards. He's in full work all the time at home.

"He could go to the Breeders' Cup later on for the Classic. Giant's Causeway handled the dirt and to go there you need a horse that travels strong and gets a mile and a quarter."

Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad's Toronado was the big disappointment of the race, was tailed off by the halfway point on his first start over 10 furlongs and passed the post walking in last.

His epic Sussex Stakes victory over Dawn Approach resulted in the conquered Godolphin colt struggling for form in Deauville 11 days ago and the clash at Goodwood may have left its mark on the winner, also.

"He was beaten before the trip came into it," assistant trainer Richard Hannon Jr said.

"He's got long enough now to get over it until the mile races in the autumn. We'll get him home and go right through him. Clearly, something was amiss."

The Godolphin pair of Secret Number and Cap O'Rushes had no answer for Telescope in the Great Voltigeur Stakes, the Group 2 race on the undercard.

Telescope, owned in syndicate by former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, put a lacklustre second to Mike De Kock's David Livingston 12 days ago behind him and looks a leading candidate for the English St Leger next month.

As for the Godolphin horses, Saeed bin Suroor's Secret Number was third, while Charlie Appleby's Cap O'Rushes was sixth of the seven runners.

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