Could the Juddmonte International Stakes Be the Race of the Season?
Some races have bigger reputations than the Juddmonte International Stakes. For example, millions of people tune in to watch three-year-old colts compete for the Epsom Derby. In the National Hunt world, meanwhile, more than one-quarter of a million punters descend on Gloucestershire.
— Juddmonte (@JuddmonteFarms) April 21, 2021
York Racecourse’s Juddmonte International festival isn’t on the same level for the average fan. But horse racing enthusiasts will understand that the 2021 edition holds plenty of potential. Indeed, a glance at the race card will get the blood pumping as it could easily be one of the best events on the flat season calendar.
The Field Is Packed with Proven Quality
Several of the big races in the sport usually come with a caveat. The runners are thought to be top-class because they haven’t proven it yet. The Juddmonte International Stakes in August is the complete opposite. Looking at the field, it’s hard to pick out a horse that hasn’t achieved something special in the last year.
St Mark’s Basilica is the horse racing betting favourite at 1/1 after a commanding Coral-Eclipse victory, leaving two of the best racers in Europe in his dust. But he isn’t the only entrant with a world-class CV. Snowfall, for example, is an 8/1 sixth-favourite, even though the filly dominated the Oaks and won by a record 16-lengths. Mishriff, on the other hand, is the 4/1 second-favourite as he nearly upset the odds in the King George when he ran Adayar close.
The reality is that the event is packed with talent. The form books prove it beyond doubt, which is why pundits and punters feel that this edition of the race may be special.
Bangkok May Throw a Spanner in the Works
The best races have twists and turns at every furlong marker. They are what keep the excitement levels high for the viewers. A strong field such as this one is normally enough to provide drama, but there could be another surprise — a horse called Bangkok. Before the weekend, it was relatively unknown.
After taking on Mohaafeth and Armory in the York Stakes at York, Bangkok is well-regarded by the horse racing fraternity. When you evaluate the mount’s chances in the Juddmonte, you can’t help but think it will have an opportunity at greatness.
This is mainly because the respected horse it beat, Mohaafeth, is still a 10/1 shot after the defeat. Before that, lots of people assumed Jim Crowley’s mount would give the runners something to think about. The good news is, it appears as if Bangkok will be entered in the event by August 18th.
The Prize Fund Is Replenished
The Juddmonte International festival has reduced the prize pot in recent years. For jockeys, trainers, and owners, this means contemplating whether it’s best to take their services elsewhere. After all, they must factor in the risk versus reward element of the sport.
It’s not surprising that this year’s version of the race contains some of the biggest names in the sport, whether they are the horses themselves or the jockeys and trainers. Part of the reason is that the winning fund is back to its previous £1 million value, meaning there’s more cash for the successful entrants to share.
Money isn’t everything, but it’s a healthy feature of the sport because it sparks a competitive edge between the contestants. Essentially, the likes of Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore will give it everything for a slice of the pie, meaning the horses will run to their limits.
That should make for great viewing, especially when you consider the quality of the field and the potential for shocks. The Juddmonte International Stakes is back, so mark the date in your calendar!