THREE-YEAR-OLDS have dominated the July Cup at Newmarket in recent years, but it’s an improving handicapper that I think might have the last laugh this afternoon.
The big Darley-sponsored sprint is one of no less than ten races on the main ITV network to enjoy today, and it’s a case of sit back, put your feet up and punt away!
Advertise flies the flag for the younger generation in the Group 1 dash over six furlongs, but I want to take him on and, in any case, his price will be restricted due to Frankie Dettori being on board.
Dettori, incidentally, is the guest on the Opening Show with me on ITV4 at 9.30am.
Advertise, trained well by Martyn Meade, was a decent juvenile, landing a poor renewal of the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh just under a year ago.
This season he was tried over seven furlongs and a mile in the 2000 Guineas, where he only had four horses behind him in a field of 19.
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However, he bounced back to his best at Royal Ascot, smashing Forever In Dreams by a length and a half in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup.
The problem for this three-year-old, though, as he attempts to follow other recent members of the Classic generation to land the July Cup in Muhaarar, Harry Angel and US Navy Flag, is that I’m not certain the form is that great, Ten Sovereigns looked very iffy, while Jash did nothing. Smart Calyx never made the line-up.
On a rating of 119 and getting 6lb from the older horses, Advertise has a fantastic mathematical opportunity. But it’s not all about weights and measures.
Dream Of Dreams will be a big danger for Sir Michael Stoute, who took this with Marwell, Ajdal and Green Desert.
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I was at Windsor when he was a classy victor two runs ago from the likes of The Tin Man, and he very nearly caught Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the Royal fixture. You could argue that is the best form on offer. Surely he will be in the mix.
Old boy Brando has finished third and second in the last two July Cups and is a credit to Kevin Ryan. However, in many ways I would be disappointed if he actually too the prize.
Ten Sovereigns is back for more, but I did not like his head carriage behind Advertise. Watch the market, though, with him in case anything has been done to help him at home since that latest run.
Limato won this event in 2016, and he was a terrific victor over seven furlongs last time. I have a feeling that is his best trip now, and he might get outpaced here for Henry Candy.
Hard to see any others getting involved other than the horse I believe will take all the beating.
Cape Byron has done this column many favours in his career, and he’s now at the peak of his game. Off a BHA rating of 113 he has plenty to find on the book, but he will be storming home late for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni.
The Victoria Cup winner dropped back from this distance of that race of seven furlongs to six at Ascot last time, and was pretty sensational in the Wokingham. This Group 1 is a different ball game. But it has been done before.
I booked Darryll Holland to ride Continent in the 2002 July Cup, and he was a similar type to Cape Byron, in that he came through the handicap ranks. Trained by the late Dandy Nicholls, Continent has been an Ayr Gold Cup winner before his Group 1 breakthrough.
There is not a lot between a top handicapper and Group 1 performer when it comes to sprinting. I think Cape Byron will take all the beating.
The other horse I can’t wait to see today is King’s Command, who goes for Godolphin in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket, a Group 2 over seven furlongs.
The race he won first time the same Charlie Appleby yard landed with the impressive Quorto in 2018, and I would hazard a guess that this youngster is a bit special.
For a start he’s a son of Dubawi, and on a big day for that stallion’s Darley operation he would be a topical scorer. James Doyle take the mount which is a plus.
A huge day of racing on ITV. Much to look forward to as ever in this great game.