Five races at the July meeting to keep a close eye on
11 Jul 2017
The three-day festival begins at Newmarket on Thursday and is always one of the highlights of the summer.
Caravaggio proves too strong for Harry Angel in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. Picture: Racingfotos.com
The three-day Moët and Chandon July Festival begins at Newmarket on Thursday. The meeting features two QIPCO British Champions Series races – the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes on Friday and Darley July Cup 24 hours later – and is always one of the highlights of the summer.
With the Series in mind, here are five races to keep a close eye on:
Bahrain Trophy Stakes (1.50)
The Group Three contest, run over 1m5f, often provides a big clue to the William Hill St Leger. Masked Marvel won the 2011 renewal before going on win at Doncaster, while Harbour Law was fourth last year en route to Classic glory at Town Moor.
Brian Meehan’s Raheen House is officially the highest rated horse among the nine declared runners (110) but Atty Persse, the emphatic Royal Ascot winner, is likely to be more popular in the betting. John Gosden has saddled the winner of the race a record five times and will be represented by Crowned Eagle, an also-ran in the Investec Derby, and Face The Facts.
Princess Of Wales’s Arqana Racing Club Stakes (3.35)
Hawkbill already boasts a Series win, having won the Coral-Eclipse Stakes last year, and will be joined by stablemate Frontiersman, who had him behind when chasing home Highland Reel in the Investec Coronation Stakes at Epsom last month.
Frontiersman tended to wander around a bit at Epsom and will be equipped with first-time cheekpieces. Wings Of Desire, fourth in the Investec Derby last year before finishing second in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and Poet’s Word, who is probably still improving, are also in the select six-runner field.
None of the nine possibles boast a Series win but the Aidan O’Brien-trained Roly Poly is an obvious favourite after beating all bar the brilliant Winter in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.
Roly Poly would not be winning at the highest level out of turn, having also been pipped a short head in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket last year. Wuheida, who is unbeaten and has won at the highest level, is on course to make her eagerly awaited return, while Unforgetable Filly, the German 1000 Guineas winner, and Arabian Hope, winner of all three of her races this term, add spice.
bet365 Superlative Stakes (4pm)
The Group Two contest is for two-year-olds and will not have a bearing on this year’s Series but history suggests it very well might do in 2018.
Olympic Glory used the 7f contest as a stepping stone towards subsequently winning the Lockinge Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, while the roll of honour also includes Be My Chief, Dr Devious, Commander Collins, Dubawi and Horatio Nelson. All bar one of the 15 entries has won a race and the possibles include the Aidan O’Brien-trained Gustav Klimt, a taking winner at the Curragh last time.
Darley July Cup (4.35)
Last, but certainly not least, one of the biggest races of the year. This year’s six-furlong showpiece could be a vintage edition with The Tin Man, Limato and Caravaggio – all Series wins in the past year – meeting head on in a great battle of the generations.
Last Saturday, in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, it was the older brigade who prevailed with Ulysses.
Many expect the unbeaten Caravaggio to strike back for the three-year-old crop and the official ratings point to him being the best in the field with more to come.