David O’Meara’s gallant grey Lord Glitters may be racing beyond nine furlongs for the first time in Britain when he tackles the Group 1 Juddmonte International on Wednesday, but the trainer believes the six-year-old has the stamina required for the 1m2½f contest.
Purchased at the Arqana Summer Mixed Sale in 2017 for €270,000 by owners Geoff and Sandra Turnbull along with Jason Kelly, O’Meara revealed that Willie Mullins’ associate Harold Kirk was underbidder for the gelding.
Speaking to QIPCO British Champions Series, O’Meara said: “They clearly had hurdling in mind for him. It could be that we’ve been running him over the wrong trip all this time!
“He won over a mile and a quarter in France early in his career and he won the Strensall Stakes over nine furlongs at York last year, when he beat subsequent Lockinge winner Mustashry. He also ran a blinder [behind Almond Eye] over that trip in the Dubai Turf and has never been stopping at the end of his races.
“There’s not a lot else to be running him at this time and there’s fantastic prize-money on offer, so why not have a go? We can always drop back in trip for the QEII later in the year.”
Lord Glitters secured the biggest victory of his career when a valiant winner of the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. Last seen finishing fifth behind Too Darn Hot in the Sussex Stakes, the gelding will have to be back to his very best if he is to trouble the world’s highest-rated horse, Crystal Ocean.
O’Meara is more than aware of the challenge the six-year-old faces and said: “We are under no illusions it’s a tough race and he’s got quite a bit to find with the likes of Crystal Ocean, but he’s in great form and the fact that he’s won at York is another tick in his box.
“The Sussex Stakes wasn’t run at an overly strong pace last time and he needs an end-to-end gallop in his races. There should be enough pace on Wednesday.”
Crystal Ocean, who has excelled this season, heads the field of nine that for Wednesday’s feature race at York and the five-year-old comes into the race off the back of a pulsating duel with Enable in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes last month.
It was Khalid Abdullah’s wondermare who prevailed by a neck, but Crystal Ocean has more than shown his top-class ability, having captured the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Yet to finish out of the first three in his career, Crystal Ocean’s opponents on Wednesday include his Sir Michael Stoute-trained stablemate Regal Reality, who was last seen finishing third in the Coral-Eclipse.
Group 1 winners Japan and Circus Maximus lead Aidan O’Brien’s bid to equal Stoute’s record of six victories in the race, while John Gosden relies on the lightly-raced King Of Comedy, who finished second behind Circus Maximus in the St James’ Palace Stakes in June.
Having returned to the level of ability he showed in his two-year-old season, the Mark Johnston-trained Elarqam makes the step up to elite company for the first time since finishing sixth in the Irish 2,000 Guineas last year.
The four-year-old put up a career best to land the Group 2 Sky Bet York Stakes last time in impressive fashion and has been supplemented at a cost of £75,000 by owner Hamdan Al Maktoum.
Wednesday’s field is completed by the David Menuisier-trained Thundering Blue, who finished third behind Roaring Lion and Poet’s Word in last year’s edition of the race, and Japanese raider Cheval Grand, who will attempt to follow Deirdre’s heroics in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood earlier this month.