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Andrew Balding targets Group 1 success with Alcohol Free in Juddmonte International at York




Kingsclere trainer Andrew Balding is enjoying a fantastic season and chases more Group One honours at York Racecourse on Wednesday (today) when he saddles star stable Alcohol Free in the £1-million Juddmonte International.

The 10-furlong contests kicks off the four-day Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival and sees a field of seven runners go to post for an event which has been won by the likes of Sea The Stars, Frankel, Roaring Lion and Ghaiyyath this century.

Alcohol Free comes into the race on the back of a smooth win in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood over a mile and she now steps in trip with this being her first try over 10 furlongs.

Andrew Balding has a few runners at York over the next four days
Andrew Balding has a few runners at York over the next four days

The three-year-old daughter of No Nay Never benefits from a three-year-old fillies’ allowance and will have to show her aptitude for quick ground, having scored at Goodwood on soft ground last month.

Alcohol Free is a general 5/1 shot for the Group One event with Mishriff heading the betting at 13/8.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained four-year-old has already landed the Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic this term and was a fine second behind Derby winner Adayar in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot on his latest start.

The return to 10 furlongs will really suit and he looks a worthy favourite.

Aidan O’Brien was set to rely on St Mark’s Basilica in this event.

However, the exciting three-year-old was ruled out of this assignment having developed an infection earlier this week with team Ballydoyle instead running 9/4 chance Love.

Winner of the 1000 Guineas, Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks on the Knavesmire last summer, the four-year-old was a gutsy winner of the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on her return to action, before finishing third in the King George last time out.

Set to be ridden by Ryan Moore, connections will look to utilise her stamina-laden credentials and make this a test for the likes of Alcohol Free.

William Haggas is doubly represented with Mohaafeth (11/2), a winner at Royal Ascot who failed to justify odds-on favouritism in the York Stakes last time out and the unexposed Alenquer (12/1) who met trouble in running when third in the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp on his latest outing.

The seven-runners are completed by Irish 2000 Guineas winner Mac Swiney (14/1) and Royal Ascot scorer Juan Elcano (33/1).

Across the rest of the card, Andrew Balding will target further success in the £100,000 Group Three Tattersalls Acomb Stakes with Imperial Fighter.

A winner on debut at Goodwood, the son of The Gurkha is open to any amounts of improvement and is another live chance for Balding along with Youth Spirit who was fourth on his latest start Goodwood and remains open to more progression.

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