Newmarket July Cup Day Preview
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Newmarket July Cup Day Preview

Newmarket's three-day July Festival concludes on Saturday and it's the Group 1 July Cup that takes centre stage. The big race goes off at 4.25pm, with strong support via the Superlative Stakes and the Bunbury Cup. Racing at Newmarket is from 1.30pm-5.00pm and the Racing Post brings analysis for all Saturday's action.


1.30pm - Rossdales British EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes (7f)

Achillea is the only one with racecourse experience heading into this opening contest and Dean Ivory's daughter of Frankel will need a big step up from last month's debut fourth at Newbury where she went off a 33/1 chance in the betting.

By the same sire, Andrew Balding's Frankness looks a likely type on paper for a yard that does well with newcomers, while both Lucking Brew for Ralph Beckett and Running Lion for Team Gosden are interesting.

So, too, is BLUE MISSILE for William Haggas in the Royal silks. The Galileo filly is superbly bred and is a promising juvenile on paper for a yard in scintillating form.

Selection: Blue Missile

Next Best: Running Lion


2.05pm - Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa Fillies' Handicap (7f)

It could be a fast start to the meeting for the Haggas and Cieren Fallon combination as KIDWAH looks very much the one to beat in this Fillies' handicap.

The daughter of Kodiac has scored at Doncaster and Redcar either side of a winter layoff, looking very strong through the line in both those 6f starts.

She didn't beat a strong field on her comeback last month but she did it with loads to spare and moves into handicaps with lots more progress possible for a yard boasting a 30 per-cent strike-rate lately.

Truly Acclaimed has won her last two in gutsy fashion as York and Ayr and John Quinn's charge should go well, though she's up another 4lb and hasn't had a lot to spare in either of those wins.

Silken Petals was second over C&D a fortnight ago and runs from the same mark, while Golden Spice had recorded pleasing wins here and at Leicester prior to a midfield finish in the Sandringham at Royal Ascot and, with her mark untouched, should get back in the mix for George Boughey and William Buick.

Selection: Kidwah

Next Best: Golden Spice


2.40pm - bet365 Mile Handicap (1m)

Charlie Appleby runs both Bay Of Honour and New Kingdom in this eight-runner contest. Both are setting into handicaps for the first time and are lightly-raced sorts with scope for better.

Last month's Thirsk novice winner Bay Of Honour is getting in 6lb lower and has seen the runner-up come out and win since, while the presence of William Buick is a positive as he's generally been getting these sorts of call spot on recently.

Laasudood won a Doncaster novice in strong fashion last month and should have more in him, with Richard Hannon putting up Christophe Soumillon here, while both Positive Impact and Jimi Hendrix have their claims too.

SPINAROUND was on the completely wrong side of the track in the Britannia at Royal Ascot last time out and a line should be drawn through that effort. Previous to that, he was improving in two starts at Goodwood (second) and Chelmsford (first) this season for John & Thady Gosden.

A mark of 95 does give him something to find, but the presence of Benoit De La Sayette in the saddle is a major help claiming 5lb and the market may have underestimated them on early quotes of 20/1.

Selection: Spinaround

Next Best: Bay Of Honour


3.15pm - bet365 Superlative Stakes (Group 2, 7f)

For A Laugh is the only contender without a win but Michael Bell's Australia colt wasn't disgraced in a warm contest at Sandown four weeks ago on debut and could improve. That said, he looks the outsider of the party in what is a classy little group for the Superlative Stakes.

Newbury scorer Dark Thirty will have gleaned plenty from finishing fifth in the Chesham at Royal Ascot on second start and should give a good account, while Isaac Shelby dispatched his ten rivals in a Newbury maiden in May with some disdain and is open to plenty improvement for Brian Meehan and Sean Levey now.

Victory Dance got up close home to defeat his main market rival on debut over C&D three weeks ago and must rate a major player with more to come for Appleby and William Buick. He's gone in as early favourite but LION OF WAR could be the answer for Mark Johnston.

The Qatar Racing-owned son of Roaring Lion won nicely on debut at Leicester (7f, good to firm) in June and defied a penalty 12 days later at Newcastle with consummate ease, cantering in the final half-furlong after quickening right away from his rivals. On that evidence, he might be well above average.

Selection: Lion Of War

Next Best: Isaac Shelby


3.50pm - bet365 Bunbury Cup (Heritage Handicap, 7f)

On an afternoon of relatively small fields at HQ, the Bunbury Cup offers a stern test for punters with a field of 20 declared.

Montassib suffered a first defeat on his fourth start when close-up fifth of 29 in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last time. Haggas' gelding was staying on well late in that race and should give another solid account from an unchanged mark, but his price looks short enough for a race with this sort of depth again.

AL RUFAA was down the field in that same contest at Ascot and has some real questions over him, but the Kingman gelding has twice failed to show his best at the Berkshire circuit now and, by contrast, is 2-2 over this trip here on the July Course.

The Gosdens' charge is within 2lb of his last win-mark now and if a corner is going to be turned, this looks the most likely place for it to happen on balance, so he's given another chance to prove himself.

His stablemate Samburu suffered his only reversal in four starts when a solid three-length sixth in a Group 3 at Royal Ascot and could be well-handicapped on that evidence, so he's a consideration too.

Il Bandito, Jumby and Vafortino are possibles, while Jamie Spencer is the right man for Bless Him now dropped in trip if there's a pace-collapse in front. They were far from disgraced in the Hunt Cup last time.

Ropey Guest had plenty of these behind when second in the Buckingham Palaces Stakes at Ascot last time and is a key contender if replicating that sort of form now from the same mark with Callum Hutchinson taking off a valuable 5lb.

Selection: Al Rufaa

Next Best: Bless Him


4.25pm - Darley July Cup Stakes (Group 1, 6f)

The feature race can go the way of market leader PERFECT POWER for Richard Fahey and Christophe Soumillon.

The July Cup tends to go the way of a fancied runner, with eight of the last 12 winners priced 9/2 or shorter in the betting, while his win in last month's Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot ensures this highly-rated sprinter ticks boxes for winning a key trial, being a multiple Group 1 scorer and boasting form at this distance.

His opening two runs this season suggested sprinting was the way to go again for last year's Middle Park Stakes winner and he's taken to confirm the impression he left at Ascot by making the most of his 3YO allowance and grabbing this elite midsummer prize.

It's hard to predict the likes of Flaming Rib (second) or Cadamosto (fourth) will turn that Ascot form around now.

Naval Crown and Creative Force were first and second in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes at Ascot last time for Appleby. The winner only got up late on and it's entirely possible this easier track will see things turned around. Creative Force is 3-4 here at Newmarket and he didn't get much luck in running when fifth in this race last year.

Artorius was right behind the Godolphin duo at Ascot and should run his race again, while of those at fancy prices, Japanese raider King Hermes is not dismissed alongside the aforementioned Cadamosto.

Selection: Perfect Power

Next Best: Creative Force


5.00pm - Moet & Chandon Handicap (1m4f)

Bizzare Law was a winner at Goodwood three weeks ago over this trip and comes into this contest with his chances as such. He's lightly-raced and a 4lb rise could be tolerable.

Glen Savage made a winning start to his career at Newbury last spring and, after missing 411 days, shaped quite promisingly at Doncaster in a novice event last month. He moves up in trip for this handicap debut and is in good hands.

COMMONSENSICAL is more exposed than some of these but is very unfortunate not to have won all three starts this season since joining Hugo Palmer, with wins at Chepstow and Carlisle flanked by a near miss in a four-runner Ripon contest.

He, too, is up for 4lb now tackling a longer trip and could continue his fine vein for form, though Adjuvant could have a say if settling a bit better under the valuable 5lb claim of Benoit De La Sayette.

Selection: Commonsensical

Next Best: Adjuvant






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