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Top sprinters primed for Darley July Cup

8 Jul 2011

The amount of rain that falls will be key to the chance of the favourite, Delegator, as Frankie Dettori seeks his first ever success in Europe's premier sprint in which a top class field of 17 horses are set to go to post.

Delegator breezes at Churchill Downs ahead of last year’s Breeders’ Cup in the USA.  Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

Tomorrow’s Darley July Cup, the fourth sprint in the QIPCO British Champions Series and a race that consistently proves itself to be the premier sprint in Europe, has attracted a top class field of 17 runners.

Amongst those set to line up in the six furlong contest on the final day of Newmarket’s Piper Heidsieck July Festival are the 2nd (Monsieur Chevalier), 3rd (Star Witness), 4th (Elzaam), 5th (Bated Breath) and 6th (Amico Fritz) from the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot three weeks ago. 

Sadly the Golden Jubilee winner, Society Rock, met with a setback and is unable to run.

The fast ground-loving Delegator, trained in Newmarket by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Frankie Dettori, was forced to miss missed Royal Ascot because the going turned soft.

He is set to start favourite, but the big question is whether the recent showery rain will be enough to force his withdrawal once again.

The reports from the Newmarket gallops are that Delegator is primed to run a big race over a trip which suited him perfectly on his one race this year at York in May, when he ran out a comfortable winner.  Prior to that he had never run over a distance of less than seven furlongs.

For Star Witness, the Aussie challenger who was placed in both the Royal Ascot sprints, it is a last throw of the dice. The four-year-old will retire to stud after this race and he must have a decent chance of going out on a high.

At Royal Ascot he was probably in front a little too early and, having raced a couple of lengths clear, tired inside the final furlong to finish third. Expect him to make his move a little later tomorrow.

Those who finished just in front or just behind him that day reoppose and it will be fascinating to see who emerges as the best of them.

Another interesting contender is last year’s joint champion two-year-old (with Frankel), Dream Ahead. He is best with give in the ground so wants every drop of rain going.

If enough falls, he must have a fine chance of giving his jockey, Hayley Turner, a first ever Group 1 race victory. That would be a fantastic story.

But if the ground remains on the faster side of good, then Delegator is likely to take all the beating and, if successful, it would propel Frankie Dettori to the top of the QIPCO British Champions Series jockey standings.

The race is due off at 3.35pm and will be shown live on Channel 4.

To see the full race details, CLICK HERE.