The International Stakes is the most anticipated event of the Ebor Festival, held annually at York Racecourse. The Ebor Festival is held in mid-August making the most of the last days of the gorgeous Yorkshire Summer. The International Stakes is open to thoroughbred horses aged three and over. It is the final middle-distance race run before the Champion Stakes which is the final race of the QUIPCO Champion Stakes (middle distance category) for the season.
The International Stakes is open to Group 1 thoroughbreds aged three and older. It is held on the York Racecourse, also home to the Yorkshire Oaks race, during the Ebor Festival mid-August, and also happens to be the richest of its season with a purse of £1 million with a top prize of £567,100 as of 2017.
The course is left-handed requiring that the horses turn left before entering the final straight. The event is run along 10.5 furlongs of turf. Each three-year-old thoroughbred must carry 8 stones-13 pounds (colts) or 8 st-10 lbs. (fillies). Four-year-olds must carry 9 st-6 lbs. or 9 st-3 lbs. respectively.
location: York Racecourse
grade: Group 1
race type: Flat race
Having only been established in 1972, the event is relatively new compared to others on the British horse racing calendar, some of which date back centuries. The concept for the International Stakes was developed by Major Leslie Petch, who worked as a Clerk of Course at York Racecourse. In 1972, when the race finally premiered, Petch was no longer working in that position.
The first races of the International Cup were sponsored by Benson and Hedges, causing the race to be widely known as the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup. The first running of the International Stakes immediately produced a historic event when Roberto raced to victory, leaving Brigadier Gerard to scramble to second place. This was the only defeat Brigadier Gerard suffered in his entire career with an impressive 17 wins from 18 starts.
From 1985 to 1989, the International Stakes was known as the Matchmaker International after the bloodstock company Matchmaker took over sponsorship. In 1989, the sponsorship changed again to the current sponsor, Juddmonte Farms, which turned the International Stakes into the Juddmonte International.
Despite its brief history, the International Stakes has an impressive array of record holding Group 1 champions that have competed for its rich prize (as of 2017).
TThe most successful jockeys to compete in the International Stakes are Frankie Dettori from Halling in 1996 to Authorized in 2007 and Lester Piggott from Dahlia in 1974 to Roderigo de Triano in 1992. Each has five wins.
Two colts and one filly have won the race on two occasions. Dahlia took both the 1974 and 1975 events just two years after the race was established and remains the only female to do so.
The current record holder for the fastest time in the history of the race (2m: 05.29sec) is the 2009 winner - Sea The Stars.
As of 2017, two trainers share the record for the most victories (five wins each). The first is Michael Stoute from Shardari in 1986 to Notnowcato in 2006. More recently, Aidan O'Brien has won five times from Giants Causeway in 2000 to Australia in 2014.
This prestigious event has attracted several top names in the world of horseracing including Frankel (2012), ea the Stars (2009), Duke of Marmalade (2008), Giants Causeway (2000), and Singspiel (1997) making for some of the most exciting moments in the history of the race (as of 2017).
The 2012 winner, Frankel, is arguably the best racehorse to run in the International Stakes with an impressive record of 14 wins from 14 starts.
Duke of Marmalade (2008) and Giant's Causeway (2000) both dominated with five Group 1 wins each in their respective years. Sea The Stars was a thrilling competitor to follow in 2009 with an undefeated season that year boasting six Group 1 wins and a career record of eight 8 wins from 9 starts.