As one of the most successful jockeys to have have graced the sport, Mick Kinane knows exactly what is required to succeed at the top level.
Just one of the races the Irishman enjoyed some magical moments in during his illustrious career was the Juddmonte International at York, winning the Group One prize on no fewer than three occasions.
Sea the Stars.
Giving him his final taste of victory in the extended 10-furlong contest was the majestic Sea The Stars, who claimed the Kanvesmire jewel in what was to be a sensational 2009 season, alongside victories in the 2000 Guineas, Derby, Eclipse, Irish Champion Stakes and the Arc.
With this year’s renewal drawing together Derby and Eclipse hero Golden Horn and Irish and English 2000 Guineas winner Gleneagles in a ’race of the season’ clash, there are few better placed than Kinane to give judgement on how events will unfold.
VINTAGE PICTURE OF THE DAY: Sea The Stars & Mick Kinane after claiming victory in the 2009 Juddmonte International pic.twitter.com/BGYRR8pAl6— Racing Post (@RacingPost) August 12, 2015
He said: “It is a clash that really whets the appetite. It is what racing is all about, great horses that are champions over two different distances like this clashing.
“One thing that is for sure is we will know the champion three-year-old after Wednesday.
“I’ve had a few great rides in the race and it is the time of year they are finding their way, with the established better horses taking on each other. It is always a top race.”
Having spent several years as number one jockey to Aidan O’Brien, a vote for Gleneagles would come as little surprise, but with his stamina yet to be tested over such a distance, Kinane believes it is hard to get away from Golden Horn preserving his unbeaten status.
He said: “With the pacemaker (Dick Doughtywylie) in the race for Golden Horn that makes it very straightforward for him as he will bring Frankie (DettorI) as far as he can down the straight.
“He will be the one to make the first move as his horse has stamina in abundance and he will try to get Gleneagles at it and get him into unknown territory and out of his comfort zone.
“Stamina will get asked at York as they get racing a long way out, but it is a very fair track and one of the best there is.
“It is a question of if Gleneagles will stay, so I would go for the favourite as he is proven over the track and distance, his stamina is assured and he is a straightforward horse. Like Sea The Stars, he is a very good horse and has taken a similar route to him.
“He looks a very straightforward, genuine horse that is sound in both mind and body.”
Although seen in many quarters as a two-horse showdown, there is every chance one of the supporting cast could gatecrash the party, such is the quality of the field.
One in particular Kinane believes poses a real threat is the Roger Charlton-trained Time Test, last seen posting a facile victory in the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He said: “The Khalid Abdullah colt (Time Test) is a very good horse. He looks very exciting. It wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if he won as he was one of the most impressive winners at Royal Ascot.
“He is trained by the right person and is on an upward curve. He is entitled to be there.”
Supporting Kinane in his view that it will the black and white silks of the Anthony Oppenheimer-owned Golden Horn that will emerge victorious shortly after 3.45pm on Wednesday is countryman Johnny Murtagh.
For 45-year-old Murtagh, who triumphed aboard the O’Brien-trained pair of Duke Of Marmalade in (2008) and Rip Van Winkle (2010), it is the form of Golden Horn he feels that puts him marginally ahead.
He said: “It is a fantastic race and one that will be something special. It is the clash everybody wants, so let’s hope the ground stays good to make it a level playing field.
“It is a huge race and thankfully I have won it a couple of times. It is great to have on the CV.
“It should be a very straightforward race as there will be a good pace. I expect Golden Horn to sit in the box seat in fourth or fourth, with Gleneagles following him through.
“There is a very good chance of Gleneagles staying given his racing style as he is not keen so he will give himself every chance of staying and he might even improve for it.
“But it is a long way down the straight at York and I see Frankie making sure he puts his stamina to the test.
“It is a very close call. Aidan O’Brien has a good record in the race, but the race could just be set up for Golden Horn.
“There is not much to chose between them, but on form I would say that Golden Horn’s is a little bit better as he was a very good winner of the Derby.
“York is a very fair track and it gives everybody a chance and I can see the two of them pulling clear.
“On the facts of the form, I would just side with the Derby winner.”