12.10 bet365 Handicap (1m4f)
The opening mile and a half handicap brings together a field of nine, with lots of regular winning form on their records; and it looks set to be very competitive.
Frankie Dettori and John Gosden team up with unbeaten Godolphin gelding Yuri Gagarin, winner of races on the all-weather at Newcastle and Kempton so far. He looks useful and should have a say upped in trip on turf bow; though he's not being thrown in off a mark of 96.
Around him on the racecard are promising fellow four-year-olds in Medal Winner, COUNTRY and FUTURE INVESTMENT.
Oisin Murphy's mount has more to find giving away top weight here but, with the William Haggas team in super form; Country is worth a chance. He caught the eye here on his final start last season in the Old Rowley Cup, making up ground late under a patient ride on his only start at 1m4f, before a pleasing sharpener at Haydock last month. There should be more to come from him.
The same is true of Future Investment. He has contested some tough handicaps since novice successes at Chester and Ripon last summer and gained pleasing experience in doing so.
He has proven stamina and will handle soft ground. His runner-up finish last month at Newbury was boosted whne the winner went close in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock from 9lb higher since and Harry Bentley's mount must rate a solid player from only 1lb higher now.
12.45 bet365 British EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes (7f)
Five of these fillies are debutantes on the racetrack, with only Wedding Dance (fourth on the Rowley over 7f last month) having experience. She's likely to come forward from that and is one of a trio representing Charlie Appleby and Godolphin, with that stable winning 12 months ago with Light Blush on her first start.
There are some interesting sorts debuting here and none more so than ?1,000,000 Dubawi filly NASH NASHA. James Doyle won this race last year and he may do so again now on this exciting newcomer.
The third runner from the nearby Appleby based, Danilova, is also entitled to be useful while LILAC ROAD makes appeal on paper for the William Haggas team boasting a 25 per-cent strike-rate with two-year-old's this season.
1.15 bet365 Novice Stakes (1m)
The one that jumps off the page for this contest is Charlie Appleby's DECLARING LOVE, a Dubawi filly with just one start under belt which came 420 days ago on the Rowley Course here.
She finished third that afternoon over 6f and the form has a very strong look about it now. The winner Daahyeh won the Albany at Royal Ascot on next start and also took the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes (7f) back here in the autumn; while second home Raffle Prize subsequently won the Queen Mary (5f) at Royal Ascot and the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes over six-furlongs at this meeting last summer.
This Godolphin filly is still clutching an entry for next weekend's Irish Oaks at the Curragh and, if she's going to Ireland, chances are she'll want to be heading over with a win under her belt. The yard boasts a 35 per-cent strike-rate (8-23) lately and William Buick's filly can add to that.
The main danger should be presented from AL MUTATHAR, winner on debut over a mile on the other course here last month. Richard Hannon's Night Of Thunder gelding was a bit green at times but asserted strongly in the closing stages and can cope with this drop in trip. Jim Crowley takes over in the saddle now and improvement is surely forthcoming.
1.50 bet365 Mile Handicap (1m)
Finest Sound is the starting point for this, with Simon and Ed Crisford's charge having finished a fine second in last month's Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot. The money came for him that day and he looked to have an excellent chance at the 2f marker, only for Jim Crowley and Khaloosy to come with a wet sail and win by four-lengths.
Finest Sound was a similar margin clear of the remainder and should go well again from his adjusted rating with Silvestre De Sousa deputing for Andrea Atzeni.
DANCE FEVER shed his unbeaten record on seasonal return at Windsor last month but that's no reason to give up on Clive Cox's charge, winner of all three starts in 2019 including a Kempton Polytrack handicap off a mark of 87.
At Windsor 13 days ago he looked in need of his run, caught for sharpness at a crucial stage before rallying quite nicely and finishing a never-nearer fourth. He races from an unchanged mark of 91 now and Adam Kirby (3-3 together last term) is back in the plate. There should be more to come and he appeals at double-figure odds as one with potential.
Australia colt ESTABLISH, a winner at Bath in novice company 16 days ago, is a strong-travelling sort that can likely make a mark in handicaps before long and should continue to improve.
14.25 British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies' Handicap (7f)
A three-year-old handicap where plenty of the field are arriving with something to prove but that isn't the case for the John Gosden-trained INDIE ANGEL.
A daughter of Dark Angel, she was fitted with first-time cheekpieces last time at Doncaster over a mile and looked the winner at the furlong-pole before being inched out of the decision on the line. That was an improved effort and, assuming the headgear has a similar effect now, she looks sure to go very close again from an unchanged mark dropped back to this trip.
As noted, there are question marks against plenty and that certainly applies to MRS BOUQUET for the Mark Johnston team. She has twice failed to find much for pressure in Listed sprints at Goodwood and Ayr recently.
The Toronado filly was a three-time winner last season over 5f/6f, looking quite smart when winning a Conditions event at Glorious Goodwood in July. There's no doubting she has to bounce back here but the handicapper has offered her a chance and, tackling 7f for the first time, she's an each-way price with the booking of Ryan Moore catching the eye. She therefore gets a speculative choice to get her career back on track.
bet365 Superlative Stakes (Group 2, 7f)
Six unbeaten records, five once-raced winners, nine last-time-out winners...it doesn't matter how you cut the Superlative field apart; it's going to leave you with as many if not more questions than answers. This Group 2 has attracted a field of 10 runners laced with potential. Any strong moves in the betting will need to be paid close attention too.
Frankie Dettori partners Kempton maiden winner King Zain for Mark Johnston but one wonders whether the Italian would prefer to get the leg up on John Gosden's SEVENTH KINGDOM.
The Frankel colt looked a bit green on debut at Doncaster four weeks ago but he really rattled home once the penny dropped and there's the promise of plenty more to come. David Egan keeps the ride and they look set for a big role.
MASTER OF THE SEAS won on the Rowley course here last month on debut for Charlie Appleby, pulling a long way with runner-up William Bligh (won decisively on next start) and he proved himself on the forecast soft ground in doing so. He looks a useful prospect and represents a stable in a rich vein of form.
Hudson River is by Galileo out of dual Nunthorpe winner Mecca's Angel and won well on debut at the Curragh last month for Ballydoyle. He's another for the shortlist.
3.35 Darley July Cup (Group 1, 6f)
The highlight of the three-day Festival and this year's July Cup looks set to be a cracker with a field of 13 contending for the Group 1 sprint prize.
Last month's Commonwealth Cup winner GOLDEN HORDE boasts excellent claims for Clive Cox, who has won this in recent times with Lethal Force and Harry Angel. It was a no-nonsense display at Ascot last time, with Adam Kirby's mount in front some two-furlongs out and getting stronger with every yard in the run to the line. That came on good to soft ground and he's a worthy favourite here in his bid to become the fourth winning three-year-old in the July Cup in five years, with the allowance for 3yos proving vital.
Preference is for SCEPTICAL and Frankie Dettori however. He's been a rapid improver in a short space of time for Irish trainer Denis Hogan and has unfinished business after being beaten favourite in the Diamond Jubilee at Ascot last time.
He has to turn around a narrow margin with Hello Youmzain from that race but this track may suit him better. Frankie Dettori looked to push on some way from home at Ascot and admitted afterwards that given his time over, he'd have delayed his challenge a bit longer. With Golden Horde unlikely to mess about, Sceptical can hopefully sit on his heels for a long way before swooping late to take the prize.
For each-way options, it's worth giving Equilateral a chance. He found only Battaash too good in the King's Stand at Ascot (5f) and will be a player here if he lasts the extra furlong. The improving Oxted for Roger Teal and Cieren Fallon also fully merits his crack at a Group 1 sprint and can go well.
4.10 bet365 Bunbury Cup (Heritage Handicap, 7f)
A 20-runner charge to conclude the meeting and no shortage of betting options in the Bunbury Cup. Vale Of Kent won 12 months ago and goes again for Mark Johnston with Frankie Dettori on board, but he's got top-weight here and is 10lb higher than when he won a year ago.
At the foot of the weights is TOMFRE for Ralph Beckett and Harry Bentley and he makes decent appeal. The Cable Bay colt won four times last season, with three of those successes coming here at HQ. His final success in October came on soft ground, so conditions aren't a worry now.
He twice ran well last month, including a short-head second at Sandown in a decent handicap when he didn't get the clearest of runs, and he promises to be suited from 4lb higher travelling amongst horses in this big field.
The Hamdan Al Maktoum colours should be prominent at the business end with last month's Royal Ascot winner Motakhayyel seeking to follow up his Buckingham Palace success from a 7lb higher mark. He's respected, but owner-mate MUTAMAASIK might turn the tables now.
Ryan Moore takes over on the Roger Varian inmate here. He was around two-lengths behind in third at Ascot, where the draw favoured Richard Hannon's charge. He also gets a nice pull at the weights and can go close in the Newmarket finale as he bids to make it two wins in as many starts at this venue.