Sprint Cup next for War?!

  • By: Ben Linfoot
  • Last Updated: August 21 2013, 17:09 BST

Replay Ben Linfoot's blog as Declaration of War won the feature Juddmonte International Stakes.


1710: And that's it for day one. Declaration of War the star of the day after triumphing in the Juddmonte International from Trading Leather, a one-two for Ireland in the richest race ever run on York's mighty turf. Will Hayler is in charge of the wheels of steel tomorrow and he's promised you lot an early start as we kick into day two and the Darley Yorkshire Oaks. Venus De Milo wins that doesn't she? Have a good one...

1705: Well, well, well. Clive did know. Those first-time blinkers do the trick as Bahamian Heights scores under Ryan Moore.

1655 Result: 1st 3 Bahamian Heights 12/1

2nd 1 Coulsty (IRE) 13/2

3rd 13 Blurred Vision 8/1

1645: My mind is on tomorrow's card now and the 20-runner Clipper Logistics Handicap over a mile that I'm going through now for the Value Bet. Nightmare of a race. More immediately, the finale here at 4.55 can be filed in the same drawer, with Ifwecan the tentative selection. I'll take him to reverse Goodwood form with Flying Bear.

1630: A one-three for Mark Johnston with Mawaqeet in between after a thrilling finish to the Lanstone Building Conservation Stakes. The complexion of the race changed dramatically in the last 50 yards after Party Line had kicked clear and looked the likely winner a furlong out. Her stablemate got there in the end, right on the line.

1620 Result: 1st 10 Broxbourne (IRE) 6/1

2nd 6 Mawaqeet (USA) 16/1

3rd 9 Party Line 12/1

4th 7 All The Aces (IRE) 16/1

1619: Did you get it? That's right. Those are Aidan O'Brien quotes on the subject of Declaration of War after he ran in the Sussex Stakes behind Toronado. I wonder if the Haydock Sprint Cup is still on the agenda? Now that would be impressive.

1617: Let's play a game. Who said this?: "He's got a lot of speed this horse and he certainly won't be going beyond a mile again. In fact, we wouldn't be afraid of going the other way. A race like the Haydock Sprint Cup would be a definite possibility. Ideally, he'd want fast ground. It looked as if his wheels were spinning a bit today."

1616: Apologies to John Carus who was also on DoW as he pointed out in this very blog.

1615: I have underlined Homeric in my paper so he must've appealed on the train journey over from Leeds this morning. However, I can't for the life of me remember why. I'll have to back him and trust my morning judgement.

1610: Yep, it is a confusing one, Mark. I would say Sandown and York are very different tracks and this place does tend to throw up some strange results at this time of year. As for Toronado, you've got to think something was amiss, he wasn't travelling from a long way out today.

1605: Mark Thomas says: "Toronado bombs out! That's putting it mildly Ben. He was always too far off the pace. What chance have we punters got when Al Kazeem has had Declaration of War in his back pocket previously over the same distance on the same ground?"

1600: A Queen Anne winner and a Juddmonte International winner in the same season, it's time to nod some appreciation in the direction of Declaration of War. I can't help but think, though, that both his races will have the footnote of major flops (Animal Kingdom at Royal Ascot) that might taint his legacy a little.

1555: I didn't get time to publish JP in sunny Paris' email but he was the only one of you who seemed to be backing Declaration of War. He says: "Funny old world...following Deauville gives me a winner at York." Yes, he ran behind Moonlight Cloud didn't he? He has got some constitution, you have to give him that.

1545: Sometimes, you are left scratching your head in this game. Declaration of War, beaten soundly by Al Kazeem and Toronado on his last two starts in the UK, wins the Juddmonte International for Aidan and Joseph O'Brien. Trading Leather attempted to make all and battled back for second once headed, while Al Kazeem travelled well up front but this was one battle too many for him. Toronado ran no sort of race and completely bombed out, with his connections picking up the £10,125 sixth prize. Rewarded's connections get £20,175 for their endeavour.

1540: Result: 1st 2 Declaration Of War (USA) 7/1

2nd 6 Trading Leather (IRE) 5/1

1535: Andy in Manchester, I believe Toronado is the answer to your question: "Hi Ben, after a smooth start to the day backing Bogart, things have took a downward plunge. Al Kazeem or Toronado for my frustrated lump bet of the day? Who do you fancy?"

1530: To the big one. The Juddmonte International and a fine renewal to boot. Al Kazeem, the five-year-old warrior. He's tough, bouncing back from injury to win three Group Ones. Toronado, the three-year-old with a touch of class, but will he stay the 10 furlongs? Also from his generation, Hillstar and Trading Leather, a Royal Ascot winner and Irish Derby victor respectively - is the drop back to 10 ideal for them? And then Declaration of War. Should we be forgetting him? Rewarded - we can forget him. You would think he'll be picking up £10,125 for coming sixth, which, I guess, is job done for him. Tactics will be key here and the consensus is Trading Leather will make the running. It promises to be a cracker and I'll be cheering on Toronado, who can maintain his progression with the step up in trip set to be no problem. He's by Hugh Chaparral - he'll be fine.

1510: Telescope goes some way to proving he is worth all the yapping with a good win in the Great Voltigeur under Ryan Moore. He used his long stride in the straight to put clear daylight between himself and his rivals and a furlong out he looked like he might scoot away for a clear-cut success. In the end he was driven out for a length-and-a-quarter success from the running-on Foundry, who looked more than useful considering it was just his second career start.

1505 Result: 1st 6 Telescope (IRE) 5/4 f

2nd 2 Foundry (IRE) 5/1

1458: They're going down for the Voltigeur. I crumbled and backed both - a saver on Foundry. I'm so weak. 'They' are backing John Gosden's Nichols Canyon, into 9/1 now. Does he need soft ground? Is he good enough. I came up with 'yes' and 'no' answers to those questions in that order.

1450: I have a dilemma. After finding myself snookered after the first two contests, do I get out of this one with a lumpy bet on Telescope? All sound logic suggests no, but, I think he will thrive over this distance on this track and it doesn't look the strongest of renewals. That Foundry, though, he could be anything couldn't he? One things is for sure. I won't be backing either Godolphin horse so it is between the two.

1445: Jerry digs the knife in further: "Don't mean to "aftertime" but the Baccarat formline was good enough for me - so for probably the only time during the meeting I can say I am ahead after having 2 shillings and sixpence on Bogart. Completely against the grain of your blog followers I am sticking with Al Kazeem and have opposed Telescope with Cap o'Rushes."

1442: Three seconds to start the afternoon. Two on the track and one in the canteen. I may be going skint but I'm not hungry.

1440: Gutsy stuff from Treaty Of Paris who makes all under James Doyle and holds on well from the fast-finishing The Grey Gatsby, who isn't Great after hitting a flat spot at a crucial point in the race. Il Paparazzi was possibly a touch too keen for his own good.

1430 Result: 1st 5 Treaty Of Paris (IRE) 11/1

2nd 4 The Grey Gatsby (IRE) 5/4 f

1420: So, the Acomb Stakes, or the Pinsent Masons LLP Acomb Stakes (Group Three) to give it its full title. After Kevin Ryan won the opener I hope he can make it a quickfire double here with The Grey Gatsby who won a maiden here that is working out well. He was The Green Gatsby despite winning last time and I hope we are hailing him as The Great Gatsby in 15 minutes. He's a key horse this afternoon, if only because he's been bankered in the Placepot which lives on after the first.

1415: Ryan said of Bogart: "He loves the track. Amy felt the last day he would've won and she was proved right today." Well, that makes me feel so much better. Let's move on to the next.

1405: What a cruel, horrible game this can be! Having backed Baccarat at 12/1 and Bogart at 25/1 in the Sky Bet Dash I was in pieces after the saddle slipped on the latter and hampered the former in said race. Then Baccarat comes out and wins the Great St Wilfrid (I couldn't back him, too short) and now Bogart (couldn't back him, too short) beats today's bet Goldream to the prize. Excuse me for a second while I go and find a quiet corner to weep in.

1355 Result: 1st 9 Bogart 7/1

2nd 16 Goldream 9/1

3rd 6 Face The Problem (IRE) 16/1

4th 18 Demora 12/1

1354: Here we go, they're going in for the first. Good luck if you're having a wager this afternoon.

1350: Good old Niclas from Sweden has had a go at The Pot, too. He says: "Cheers Sir Linfoot! Will do my ususal Placepot today, but my betting-confidence is on the level that I don't have the guts to state that bacon is fattening unless someone else agrees. Anyway, it will be nice to watch todays racing and hopefully get a payout. In the first, I could probably pick 8 horses and not be sure to survive. My wallet is about as thick as the book over famous African Speedskaters, so the pin landed on merely three selections, Bogart, Zero Money (of course) and Goldream. Buying leg 2 with First Flight, The Grey Gatsby and Il Paparazzi. Not so sure about Telescope in leg 3 so he will be accompanied with Foundry and Secret Number. Toronado is my banker in the 4th. Broxbourne, Willie Wag Tail or Wyborne will hopefully get me to the bitter end where my insane lock of Jazz and Blurred Vision provides me with a steak dinner or noodles. Hope you have a smashing day at the races, Ben!"

1345: Goldream has been given the word ('win') and he actually looks really well - and I'm not biased in these matters. But the ones for money are Above Standard and Bogart who head the market at 11/2 and 7/1 respectively. Considering a 'just in case' bet on Bogart after what happened last time, but so far holding firm.

1335: Twenty minutes to the first. Punters, get your bets on please, place your bets. Off to look at these in the paddock and give Goldream the nod.

1320: There's a few Britain v Ireland battles today with Telescope v Foundry in the Voltigeur and Al Kazeem/Toronado/Hillstar v Trading Leather/Declaration of War in the Juddmonte. For info on the Irish challenge I urge you to read Donn McClean's thoughts if you haven't already.

1310: There's a huge picture of Frankel on the back of the Ebor stand reminding us all of his scintillating performance here a year ago. I was working here that day and a more pleasurable day 'at the office' will be hard to come by. I've never seen the parade ring as packed to the rafters and it was spine-tingling stuff when the York crowd went Frankel crazy over two furlongs out, as Queally sat motionless on the beast.

1305: Allen A from Australia pops in to say hello: "Hi Ben, hi team. I really enjoy the interaction and friendship on this sportinglife site. As a member of Downunder Brisbane I do not mind the cricket result neither. They really did need a boot where it hurts. Anyway I have come up with Foundry and Cheviot for what it's worth . Am i off track before I hit the sack. Thanks team."

1300: Revitalised after lunch (pork pie, roast beef, quiche combo) it's Placepot time. Stake a little and win a lot. That's the plan anyway. A few bankers in there (well, Gatsby) and we've gone scatter gun on the handicaps. I like it.

1235: Those nasty rain clouds I described earlier moved on without threatening and now the sun is breaking through. Having traded at a massive price in-running 'no umbrella needed' is back in to a solid 1.10 shot in my book.

1230: I just can't have Declaration of War at all, JC. I'm struggling to see how he can beat either Al Kazeem or Toronado on this season's form, but I guess we've seen bigger turn ups before. Foundry is the fly in the ointment in the Great Voltigeur and is the main danger to Telescope on the basis that he could be anything.

1225: Get well soon John Carus, who says: "Morning Scoop. Watching the racing from home recuperating from a mild cardiac event. Hoping AOB will help the recovery with Foundry and Dec of War. I like it when Mr O'Brien runs once raced winners stepping up in trip. Dec of War is a more hopeful choice but I do think the front 3 are opposable. Take care and get on the beer like The Ord!"

1215: Today's bets: 1.55 Goldream, 2.30 The Grey Gatsby, 3.05 Telescope, 3.40 Toronado. We'll see how we're going before playing in the last two. Lots of well-fancied horses there, York is more complicated than this. I predict heartbreak.

1205: Well, it's down to Goldream in the first with Dick Bos a non-runner. O'Meara can't be happy with him after all though he's officially out due to the ground.

1200: Thanks M. As you may know, I tipped Bogart at 25/1 when he was definitely going to win the Sky Bet Dash until Amy Ryan's saddle slipped so I will be on my knees screaming at the sky if he goes into today. At 10/1, today, I thought he may struggle to dominate with so many pace-setters in the field but he loves it here and has a good chance. Secret Asset, too, loves the course but I put a line through him on the basis that he's high enough in the weights.

1155: M Craven emails in to say: "Hi Ben, this first race looks tricky do you think Kevin Ryan has Bogart primed as he did with 'good old' York Glory, I always take heed of your value bet but may side with Bogart and Secret Asset do you think they have a chance?"

1142: Cheers Andy. Hopefully you learnt a thing or two about backing winners during your time here and we'll both be cheering home Goldream in the first. I'm backing Dick Bos as well as Goldream in the first for reasons given here, but as Graham Cunningham has just told me: 'anything can win the first. Leave it alone.' I love these kind of puzzles, though. I love the smaller field group races too, obviously. I'm just in love with the game.

1140: Andy Walker Squadron Leader (Retired) is with me on Goldream in the opener. He says: "Hi Ben. Goldream in the first. Had a niggle since his great second here a few months ago and with Spencer aboard, it will be a great start to the meeting. I used to do the results board at York many years ago whilst at University and then I joined the RAF."

1130: Message received, Phil. I was just thinking, if Toronado does get piled into (lots of blue on oddschecker) then Al Kazeem could go off a very backable price. But, I just can't oppose The Hannon horse today. I just can't.

1125: Phil, though, gives me a word of warning: "Good morning Ben, I'd just like to say to people write Al Kazeem of at your peril. Time and time again this horse has proven doubters wrong, without a doubt this is the one they all have to beat."

1120: I have to agree with you, F. Toronado looks the one to be on to me today in what could be a tactical affair. If Trading Leather goes hard, I think Toronado will be fine. After all, he doesn't look like he's stopping at the end of a strongly-run mile. And if there's a dawdle, well, Toronado is best equipped thanks to his prowess over shorter. I've been wrong about Al Kazeem all season - I keep think something with more toe will beat him over 10 - but today, on this track, I'm sticking with that train of thought.

1110: Falbrav joins us from Switzerland to say: "Morning Scoop. I wasn't going to have a wager today but I find the 2/1 on Toronado irresistible (value in one sense even if not a double-figure price). I have heard quotes from the stable stipulating that the plan was to step him up in trip earlier (after all he is by a Derby winner) but he proved so effective over a mile. Also ground concerns (no such issues today) were mooted prior to that Goodwood run. And, of course, one could say that Gregorian's victory on Saturday has given that Goodwood form a decent boost, especially if you consider that Gregorian was leading the Queen Anne field inside the final furlong at Ascot. Good luck with your value selections in the first."

1100: Today's Sky Bet market movers with my knee-jerk reaction to the news:

1.55 York - Above Standard 13/2 from 7/1. Yep, Mick Easterby loves this meeting, can see why they're backing him.

2.30 York - The Grey Gatsby 6/4 from 13/8. Aye, taking performance from the son of Mastercraftsman here on debut. Worthy favourite.

4.20 Flashman 8/1 from 10/1. Ooh, Richard Fahey's charge broke the track record when winning here last time, Homeric to beat?

4.55 Bahamian Heights 14/1 from 16/1 Blimey, can't explain this one. Is Clive renowned for his first-time blinkers in nurseries at York?

1050: Fergus has his priorities spot on: "Morning Ben, I'm off work for York, the best meeting of the year! Don't like Al Kazeem and think Trading Leather will gallop him into the ground with help of soft lead. Bolger/Manning fearsome team! I'll take Il Paparazzi in the Acomb for value. Fact O'Brien has only one runner (Foundry) in Voltigeur speaks volumes, could be anything and good man up top. Take it easy on the water!!"

1040: Do you think Telescope and Toronado will both win today? I'm leaning towards that conclusion. Anyway, Sky Bet have price-boosted the double to 13/2 if such things tickle your fancy. The less appealing (to me) Telescope-Al Kazeem PB double is 6/1.

1030: It's an interesting little Acomb Stakes, Andrew, and I take your point about Il Paparazzi being impressive here at York over the course and distance last time. However, I think we'll see the best of him over much further in the future, albeit in Hong Kong, like you say. He's bred to thrive over middle distances and I think a speedier type may well get the better of him this afternoon. Step forward The Grey Gatsby. He looked a very exciting prospect when winning his maiden at York - the same maiden his trainer Kevin Ryan won last year with Blaine, who went on to win the Gimcrack at this meeting - and the step up to seven looks ideal for him. I was more taken with that effort than Il Paparazzi's, but, unsurprisingly so was everyone else which is why TGG is a 5/4 chance this morning. I think he'll win ,but there's little juice in his price now.

1025: Andrew Heard offers his thoughts on today's action: "Good Morning Ben. I have gone for II Paparazzi in the Acomb for Kubler and Callan, he looked so good in his maiden win I feel he is quite a big price today. I do feel he has got all the ability to win this it's a shame this is likely going to be his last race in the U.K having been sold to Hong Kong. What do you think about the race?"

1006: The concise version of previous update is: I think it's going to rain.

1005: As I gaze through the press room window, between the red, white and blue ribbon-effect poles that prop up the grandstand, all I can see are dark clouds. My mother's here today and I promised her she wouldn't need an umbrella, but, though I'm no Michael Fish, that might be the first thing I've called wrong today and we've just under four hours until the first race. Ominous?

0950: All it needed was a bottle of the wet stuff and I'm raring to go. I need to calm down, though. All I can see are punting opportunities on a top-quality card and when that happens things invariably go wrong. Let's just take things easy for now and check out the non-runners, of which there are four.

0930: Good morning and welcome to York for day one of the Ebor Meeting and an exciting card featuring a proper clash of the generations in the Juddmonte International. The going is 'Good to Firm' all round and we are set fair for a thrilling afternoon's action. Get your emails into me at ben.linfoot@yahoo.co.uk and we can discuss the finer things of Yorkshire together. Now before we continue let me find somewhere water. I've walked two miles this morning with a train journey and a SSNR interview in between and I'm only just fending off the chest pains.

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