Twice Over led home stablemate Midday in a memorable Juddmonte International for owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah and trainer Sir Henry Cecil on Wednesday.
Khalid Abdullah has sponsored the G1 Juddmonte International since 1989 but had never won his own race until Twice Over did the honours at York.
Twice Over (6h Observatory – Double Crossed by Caerleon) led home a Juddmonte quinella with a three-quarter length margin over Midday (Oasis Dream). Coolmore colt Await the Dawn (Giant’s Causeway), who was also bred by Juddmonte, was five lengths away in third place.
Khalid Abdullah is enjoying a year to remember in Europe with his homebred colt Frankel (Galileo) being rated higher than Juddmonte legend Dancing Brave.
Twice Over’s victory was the second leg of a feature double for Juddmonte on the opening day of York’s Ebor Festival.
Sea Moon (Beat Hollow) had earlier won the G2 Great Voltigeur by 8 lengths. He is a half-brother to the dam of Juddmonte star Workforce (King’s Best) who won the English Derby and Arc de Triomphe last year.
“I congratulated the Prince after the Great Voltigeur but he was already looking ahead to the Juddmonte,” Cecil explained. “Twice Over is a marvellous horse and I love him to bits.”
Twice Over has won the last two editions of the G1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket but recent failures in the G1 Lockinge Stakes and G1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes had cast doubts about how much of that ability he had retained.
Cecil indicated a third Champion Stakes on October 15 is definitely on the radar for Twice Over. Newmarket will be packed to the rafters because stablemate Frankel has also been nominated for the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the same day. He is currently a $1.25 favourite for the race.
Juddmonte can win another Group 1 before then. Sea Moon’s emphatic victory prompted bookmakers to price him a 6-4 favourite for the English St Leger at Doncaster on September 10.