Three who can test Ghaiyyath in the International Stakes

Japan won the 2019 Juddmonte International at York's Ebor Festival.
Japan won the 2019 Juddmonte International at York's Ebor Festival.

Multiple Group 1 winner Ghaiyyath is a hot favourite for the Juddmonte International Stakes at York's Ebor Festival in a fortnight, but Steve Chambers has picked out three rivals who could prove to be major thorns in his side...

Hugely impressive when bounding to victory in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket in June, Ghaiyyath enhanced his already lofty reputation by downing dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner and Group-winning machine Enable with aplomb in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park. Now the Charlie Appleby-trained five-year-old will head to Knavesmire to try and land a third Group 1 win on the bounce, but he will come up against some top-notch rivals. We've picked out three of the most interesting challengers here...

Japan

Aidan O'Brien's Japan produced a sparkling career best to claim victory in the 2019 Juddmonte International Stakes, and the Aidan O'Brien-trained raider will look to retain his crown on August 19 - but arrives here with something to prove. He received weight from his older rivals when winning this as a three-year-old 12 months ago, but will head here this time around on the back of a disappointing campaign.

Indeed, Japan could only finish fourth when sent off as the favourite for the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, while he was no match for Ghaiyyath when they clashed in the Coral-Eclipse, finishing third. Japan occupied the same position on his most recent start behind Enable in last month's King George, and while that rival looks likely to head to the Yorkshire Oaks at the Ebor Festival, Japan will need to recapture his form from last season. But, having downed Crystal Ocean in a thriller 12 months ago, you can't write off the Ballydoyle raider and he could prove to be a major player once again.

Sottsass

A French raider in a British Group 1 is a rather obscure thing to see this Flat campaign, but in Sottsass we are likely to see one of Europe's finest middle distance horses bidding for Juddmonte International glory, and while the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe the ultimate goal for the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained star, he could well claim a coveted British crown en route to Longchamp.

Yet to step foot on British soil, the four-year-old colt was last seen winning the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Chantilly in June, and if he can can improve on that effort here, he has to be considered a major player and one of the primary challengers to Ghaiyyath in a a fortnight's time.

Mishriff

With John Gosden likely to bypass the Juddmonte with his wonder mare Enable, the master handler will be hoping another of his challengers can shine brightest, and while Lord North is shortest of his possible runners in the latest ante-post betting, it's the three-year-old Mishriff that could be of more interest.

An impressive listed winner at Newmarket in June, the son of Make Believe then produced a scintillating display to win the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly in early July, and will now head to York to try and down his older, more experienced rivals. More improvement is needed, but Gosden, who trained Roaring Lion to victory in this race as three-year-old in 2018, knows what it takes to win, and should Ghaiyyath fail to fire on all cylinders then Mishriff has to come into calculations.

2020 York Ebor Festival
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