Walsh hopeful he can provide Dettori with first Darley July Cup
8 Jul 2021
Trainer's Extravagant Kid would give Dettori maiden success in the only Group 1 not won by the esteemed jockey
Trainer Brendan Walsh flew in from America on Monday for Extravagant Kid who bids to win Saturday’s Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket and he was delighted with what he saw.
Walsh, whose training operation is based principally in Kentucky, has a deal of respect for the opposition in a top-class field of 19 for the July Cup, part of this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series.
It is headed by last year’s winner Oxted, behind whom Extravagant Kid finished third at Royal Ascot. However, Walsh believes his eight-year-old has thrived during his stay here and that he is primed to make his presence felt once again.
The Irishman, who spent time in Newmarket as assistant to Mark Wallace and also with Godolphin before setting up on his own in America, was unable to attend Royal Ascot owing to quarantine complications. However, with Frankie Dettori booked to ride once again – bidding for a career-first win in the race and buoyed by Italy’s semi-final win in the Euros against Spain on Tuesday night – it’s all systems go for Saturday’s Group 1 sprint highlight.
Walsh said: “I was delighted with Extravagant Kid when I saw him. He’s done great over here and looks fantastic. I’d forgotten what a great environment Newmarket is for a horse and he’s thrived.”
Reflecting on Extravagant Kid’s effort in the King’s Stand Stakes, when he was bidding to add a second Group 1 to his win in the $1million Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan in March, he said: “He ran his race and we were very pleased to run third in a race like that. Maybe if he’d been drawn on the nearside it might have helped, but I’ve no excuses. If he runs as good as that, or maybe a little better, I think it should put him in the mix.”
He added: “Frankie was keen to ride him again and there’s nobody better, so we look forward to it. He very rarely runs a bad race and he’s run with the best of them. He was only beaten a length or so in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last year, from stall 14 of 14. That was an excellent run and having already won the Al Quoz over six furlongs we’ve had a very good year with him.
“We’ll probably go home after this, but if he holds his form we’ll prepare him for another go at the Breeders’ Cup.”
The Roger Teal-trained Oxted gave young Cieren Fallon a landmark first Group 1 win in last year’s July Cup – a race his father Kieren never won – and if successful again he will be the first dual winner of the race since Right Boy and Lester Piggott won in 1958 and 1959.
However, while Oxted looked very good coming from off the pace over five furlongs in a King’s Stand Stakes run at a frenetic pace, he has more than three lengths to find with Starman on earlier Duke Of York Stakes form. Starman missed the Diamond Jubilee Stakes owing to soft ground, but trainer Ed Walker thinks the world of him and is excited about his prospects.
Walker said: “Missing Royal Ascot was more of a problem for Starman than for Primo Bacio (his runner in Friday’s Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes), as we knew from the start of the season that opportunities for him would be fairly limited because the ground is unlikely to be suitable for him back at Ascot in October.
“He’s going to have to step up again from York, but he’s done absolutely nothing wrong when he’s raced on a sound surface and I think the ground should be perfect for him. He’s in great form and I’m very excited.
“This is one of the real summer highlights, and it looks red hot, so whoever wins it is going to have to be really good. I think it has the makings of a stallion-making, or champion-making race, but it could be him. It really could be.”
While the Diamond Jubilee Stakes winner Dream of Dreams misses Saturday’s race through injury, the field has tremendous depth. It includes the runner-up that day, last year’s QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes winner Glen Shiel, his stable-mate at Archie Watson’s Dragon Symbol, who lost the Commonwealth Cup in the stewards’ room, the rapidly improving Royal Ascot winners Creative Force and Rohaan, who were both ineligible for the Commonwealth Cup as they are geldings, and last year’s Middle Park Stakes winner Supremacy, who missed the same race when the ground turned against him.
Veteran Brando, who will be running in his fifth successive July Cup and has been placed twice in it, is among others who can’t be safely ignored, but if there’s a horse who is in danger of being underestimated it is Art Power, who is one of two top-class sprinters in Tim Easterby’s yard owned by King Power Racing.
Art Power, whose equally speedy stable-mate Winter Power runs at York the same afternoon, was pressing for favouritism when third in a soft-ground Diamond Jubilee Stakes, when he didn’t see out the finish quite as well as the first two, and Easterby is itching to see him on the likely quicker ground at Newmarket.
He said: “I’m dying to see Art Power on good ground. He’s never had it before, but we haven’t been avoiding it and I think it will suit him. He found himself running away from the other principals at Ascot, but he ran a very solid race again and has never run a bad one in his life.
“He’s in good form and he’s working very well. I’m very happy with him and I think the track will suit. He’s a really nice horse and he tries very hard.”
Easterby has trained some cracking sprinters over the years and hopes that Art Power will join Fayr Jag and Somnus as a Group 1 winner before long. He said: “He’s a really nice horse and he tries very hard. There’s a Group 1 in him one day, and maybe it will be on Saturday.”
Chil Chil and Glorious Journey, both winners at Group 3 level at Newcastle and Newmarket respectively a couple of weeks ago, are hoping to make the step up to Group 1 company here.
Completing the field of 19 are Emaraaty Ana, Garrus, Good Effort, Summerghand, Line Of Departure, Method and Miss Amulet.