Past Winners » Declaration Of War


I think that both Al Kazeem and Toronado are worth taking on at coupled odds of about 1/4.

The worry with Toronado is the step up to 10 furlongs. He is a miler for me, his blinding turn of foot makes him so, and you would be very surprised if he improved for the step up to 10 furlongs. You have to think that, were it not for the re-emergence of Olympic Glory – like Toronado, owned by Sheikh Joaan and trained by the Richard Hannons – as a high-class three-year-old miler, it is unlikely that Toronado would be stepping up in trip.

Al Kazeem is more difficult to take on, he is obviously a top class middle-distance older horse, but this will be his fourth Group 1 race in under three months, his fourth on fast ground, which is not ideal for a horse who has a marked preference for easy ground. At 6/5, conceding 8lb to the three-year-olds, it is worth taking him on as well.

Trading Leather and Declaration Of War are both over-priced for me. Trading Leather is dropping back down in trip from a mile and a half, but he does not lack pace. He was third in an Irish Guineas, and he was really impressive in winning a listed race at The Curragh on his last run before he went and won the Irish Derby.

Also, this race will be run over 10 furlongs and 88 yards, so almost 10 and a half furlongs, and York is a galloping track at which they usually start racing early in the home straight. It is a track that favours stamina. That should suit Trading Leather ideally.

On top of that, there is a chance that Kevin Manning could have it all to himself up front. Trading Leather was a little too keen when his rider tried to restrain him behind the two pace-setters in the King George. He was wider than ideal, and he expended valuable energy in fighting his rider for three furlongs. Back down in trip, Manning can be as aggressive on him as he likes, he can allow him roll along in front at his own pace.

Of course, Al Kazeem and Toronado will surely be stalking and ridden for a turn of foot, but Trading Leather is tough, as he proved in the Irish Derby when he chased a really fast pace, and there is a chance that they may not be able to pass him. He has form at York, having finished second in the Dante over today’s course and distance on the back of a rushed preparation, and he is over-priced for me at 13/2.

Declaration Of War has no chance of beating the top two on the book, he has two lengths to find with Al Kazeem on Eclipse running and he has three lengths to find with Toronado on Sussex Stakes running, but it is significant that Aidan O’Brien is running him in this.

He ran a cracker in the Prix Jacques le Marois since the Sussex Stakes, shaping as though this 10-furlong trip could be his optimum. O’Brien also had Kingsbarns, Camelot and Ruler Of The World entered in this race, so it is interesting that he relies on Declaration Of War. He will have to put up a career-best if he is to win today, but he has always been highly-thought-of, and you just feel that we haven’t got to the bottom of this horse yet. He is a risk, but at 14/1 you can take that risk.