The view from connections ahead of Wednesday's Juddmonte International Stakes at York.
- Related Content
Al Kazeem has a new challenge to face as well as history to overcome when he goes for a fourth successive Group One win in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York on Wednesday.
Roger Charlton's five-year-old bids to become the first horse to add the Knavesmire showpiece to his C.V. after wins in both the Prince of Wales's Stakes and the Coral-Eclipse.
While Al Kazeem goes to Yorkshire in great form, Charlton wishes there was more cut in the ground to aid his stable star in his quest.
"I've been delighted with Al Kazeem. He looks great and his work has been great," he said.
"This is a different challenge for him - he is taking on the best miler in Europe (Toronado) - on a new track at York.
"He is also bidding to become the first horse to win the Prince of Wales's Stakes, Eclipse and Juddmonte International in the same season, it's not going to be easy but he owes us nothing.
"I would be happier if the ground was good, good to soft in places, but has won on fast ground three times this season - he handles it but I feel he is a better horse on softer ground."
Declaration Of War was beaten two lengths in second place by Al Kazeem in the Eclipse, but his trainer Aidan O'Brien is much happier than Charlton with the ground conditions.
The four-year-old has though been busy since Sandown, finishing third in the Sussex Stakes and fourth in the Prix Jacques le Marois.
"Declaration Of War is in good form. Obviously, he has not done much since Deauville, but what he has done we've been happy with," said the Ballydoyle handler.
"He loves fast ground and is a very hardy horse - he seems to be going the right way for his racing."
The last Irish-trained winner to lift this great prize was O'Brien's Rip Van Winkle in 2010.
There is a second raider from the Emerald Isle in the shape of Jim Bolger's Irish Derby hero Trading Leather.
"He's very well since the King George, I'm very happy with him and he's ready to go," Bolger told Irish Horseracing TV.
"I thought it was a good run (in the King George), he's probably the best staying three-year-old around.
"We've no choice but to take on Al Kazeem, so we'll give it our best shot.
"After York he'll go to Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes."
Trading Leather was second to Novellist in the King George at Ascot on his latest start and just three-quarters of a length back in third was Hillstar and Sir Michael Stoute's charge re-opposes.
His jockey Ryan Moore feels that his mount will cope with the drop back in trip.
"I don't think it will be a problem. It's a nice big gelloping track and will suit him fine," Moore told At The Races.
"There's six runners and four of them are fairly good. It might be a little bit tactical. He seems very well at home.
"We've probably got about 12lb to find with the likes of Al Kazeem and Toronado and Declaration Of War, but hopefully he can still be improving and he will take his chance and we will see how we go.
"He won the King Edward VII Stakes and we thought he would win some handicaps before that, but it didn't pan out. He's going the right way. Hopefully he can find a bit more imporovement."