Juddmonte International mooted as next target for Alcohol Free

Oisin Murphy on Alcohol Free after winning the Sussex Stakes. (Pic courtesy of Goodwood).

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THE JUDDMONTE International over 10 furlongs at York is being mooted for Alcohol Free after her impressive win in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

The victory in the one-mile contest was the Andrew Balding-trained filly’s third Group 1 win and follows top-level successes in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

The Goodwood win boosted the earnings of the Jeff Smith-owned daughter of No Nay Never to over £1 million from a career spanning eight starts, which to date has delivered five victories, four at Group level and all at distances of up to one mile.

“This filly had already won two Group 1 races, so it was lovely to see her cement her place at the top of the tree,” said Balding who won the 2017 Sussex Stakes with outsider Here Comes When. 

“Oisin [Murphy – jockey] was at pains to try and tuck in and get some cover because she’s so much better when you are able to do that and she has got something to aim at. Poetic Flare [second placed] is a very good horse, but she really did it well in the end. 

“I am sure there were hard luck stories, but I am sure she was the best horse on the day. It was lovely to see her do that because we have always believed in her. It is no easy task taking on the colts and older horses, and to do it in that style was just fantastic.” 

“It is a privilege, it really is, watching her at home in the mornings. Cassia, who rides her every day, does a wonderful job as she tends to get a little highly strung. Watching her work is demoralising for the other horses; we have to keep swapping the lead horse because she is just so, so good. You see her afterwards and she is hardly blowing – it is effortless really. 

“She has looked very good right from her first bit of work, and we ran her on one bit of work. She had been cantering, we worked her once and thought we’d better run her. She went to Newbury and hosed up. She has been the victim of bad draws whenever she has run, to be honest. 

“She probably would have won the Dick Poole, and, with a good draw, I think in the Guineas she would have gone close had she been drawn in the middle or to the far side. Anyway, I will take this over all of those!” 

Regarding future targets, Balding added: “It was Jeff Smith’s idea in the first place, and I don’t think it’s a bad idea, to put her in the International at York and we decided to keep her in at yesterday’s forfeit stage. 

“It might be asking a bit much, going a mile and a quarter, but she’s a filly that has won three Group 1 races, so we have very little to lose. 

“If it doesn’t work, we’ll regroup and go back to the mile race on Champions Day.”

Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.