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O'Brien duo among Juddmonte International nine

Mon 19th Aug 2019, 12:09

© Photo Healy Racing

Japan and Circus Maximus give Aidan O'Brien a strong hand as he goes in search of a record-equalling sixth victory in the Juddmonte International at York on Wednesday.

It is 19 years since the Ballydoyle maestro first landed the Group One prize with the mighty Giant's Causeway (2000) and he has since added to his tally with Duke Of Marmalade (2008), Rip Van Winkle (2010), Declaration Of War (2013) and Australia (2014).

This year's two contenders have both done well since running in the Investec Derby, in which Japan finished third and Circus Maximus sixth.

Japan has subsequently landed the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Grand Prix de Paris at ParisLongchamp, while Circus Maximus successfully dropped back to a mile in the St James's Palace Stakes before pushing Too Darn Hot all the way in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

The man who has already trained six winners of the Juddmonte International is Sir Michael Stoute and he is responsible for the horse to beat this year in the ultra-consistent Crystal Ocean.

The five-year-old, winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, returns to a mile and a quarter after just losing out to Enable in an epic duel for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Stoute also runs Regal Reality, who was third to Enable in the Eclipse and fourth to Elarqam in the Group Two Sky Bet Stakes over this course and distance last month.

Elarqam, trained by Mark Johnston, bids for glory having been supplemented at a cost of 75,000 pounds.

King Of Comedy, second that day, represents the formidable John Gosden stable, while David Menuisier's Thundering Blue will try to replicate the effort that saw him take third place 12 months ago.

International flavour is supplied by the Japanese runner Cheval Grand, who was not disgraced when sixth to Enable in the King George on unsuitably soft ground.

The David O’Meara-trained Queen Anne Stakes winner Lord Glitters completes the line-up.

Enable was withdrawn, as expected, to wait for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on Thursday.

The other two horses taken out at the 48-hour final declaration stage were the O'Brien-trained pair of Magical and Anthony Van Dyck.