July Cup Preview – Saturday 14th July
Last updated: July 12, 2018 by Leon Marshal
The feature race at Newmarket on Saturday is the £500,000 Group 1 Darley July Cup over six furlongs.
This is one of the most prestigious sprint races in the calendar and often decides the sprint champion of Europe. Past winners include Moorestyle (1980), Sharpo (1982), Chief Singer (1986), Ajdal (1987), Oasis Dream (2003) and Muhaarar (2015). Godolphin won the race for the first time in 2017 with Harry Angel, trained by Clive Cox and ridden by Adam Kirby.
Blue Point bids for big race double
Godolphin will bid for a second successive victory with Blue Point, trained by Charlie Appleby. The four-year-old bounced back to form to win the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. That was his first run since finishing last of eleven at Sha Tin in April.
The race was set up perfectly for him at Ascot with Battaash setting a furious pace. William Buick was able to delay his challenge before reeling him in to win by a length and three-quarters. Eqtidaar is another Royal Ascot winner heading for the July Cup. The three-year-old toppled some big names to win the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup for Sir Michael Stoute. The well backed Sioux Nation was well beaten along with Eqtidaar’s stable companion Equilateral. He held the fast finishing Sands Of Mali by half a length.
Richard Fahey’s colt had won his previous two races at Chantilly and Haydock on easier ground. Any rain between now and the weekend would certainly improve his chances.
US Navy Flag leads O’Brien contingent
Aidan O’Brien has won this race three times with Stravinsky (1999), Mozart (2001) and Starspangledbanner (2010). He has five entries this year with US Navy Flag the shortest in the betting. The son of War Front won the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes as a two-year-old and has been aimed at the one mile Classic races.
He finished a fair fifth in the French Guineas after stumbling during the race. Ryan Moore then tried to make all the running in the Irish Guineas but was caught by outsider Romanised. Similar tactics were adopted at Royal Ascot but he faded tamely to finish only ninth of ten. O’Brien has decided to utilize that early speed and try US Navy Flag back at sprint distances.
Godolphin have a useful second string in Dreamfield who lost his unbeaten tag in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot. He was racing off a mark of 103 but was backed as if defeat were out of the question. He led two furlongs out but could not repel the late challenge of Bacchus and was beaten a neck. That was a bold effort for a horse having only his fourth race and he remains an exciting prospect.
Redkirk Warrior working well ahead of July Cup
Leading Australian sprinter Redkirk Warrior will try to make amends for his disappointing run at Royal Ascot. He faded in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes to finish only tenth of twelve behind Merchant Navy. He was closely matched with the winner on Australian form and has been working well at Newmarket recently. Connections offered the theory that racing left to right will suit the gelding much better than the reverse way at Ascot.
Another horse on a retrieval mission is Henry Candy’s Limato. He was a brilliant winner of this race in 2016 and finished runner-up to Harry Angel 12 months’ ago. His two races this season have been well below par, most recently finishing nearly ten lengths adrift in the Queen Anne Stakes. Brando finished third last year before taking his first Group 1 at Deauville in August. He has been running consistently this season and was fourth to Merchant Navy at the Curragh last time.
Blue Point @100-30 Ladbrokes
Sands of Mali @8-1
Each-way 1/5 odds, 1,2,3
The July Cup is due off at 2.15pm at Newmarket on Saturday 14th July and will be televised live on ITV.