Early Thursday morning (12.50am Australian time) the latest edition of the Juddmonte International takes place at York, England.
Run at a distance of 2000m its open to horses three years and older.
It was remembered last year as the first time the legendary Frankel stepped up in distance from a mile. He easily dismantled the likes of St Nicholas Abbey and Farhh.
This year the bookies market has this race as a two horse event between Al Kazeem and Toronado.
The five year old Al Kazeem has already won three Group 1’s at this distance. His trainer Rodger Charlton gave him a break after his last victory in the Eclipse so he should go into this fresh.
He’s done nothing wrong so far this year but there’s a question mark over the quality of his opposition.
Camelot is clearly not the horse he was in the early part of last season and Mukhadram has yet to win a Group 1 and is unlikely to do so.
Toronado is definitely the best horse Al Kazeem will have encountered, however this is the first time he will step up from a mile.
His sire High Chaparral, a Group 1 winner at distance himself, has produced high class performers at 2000m such as So You Think.
There is no question of stamina on his sire side but there is on his dams, Wana Doo. She has only won once (at a mile) from nine starts and her sire Grand Slam is a producer of sprinters.
Looking at the line-up I don’t see any pacemakers so I don’t expect a frantic speed early on. If Richard Hughes can conserve Toronado’s energy he will have the turn of foot to win this.
Declaration of War has had a hard campaign with this being his sixth run in three months. Even if he was going into this fresh Al Kazeem has already accounted for him in the Eclipse and I don’t see the tables turning.
Trading Leather is a dependable sort, but not spectacular so I don’t expect him to mount a challenge. The same can be said for Sir. Michael Stoutes Hillstar.
Selections: 1. Toronado 2. Al Kazeem 3. Trading Leather.