The July Festival at Newmarket (Thursday – Saturday) is this week’s racing highlight, whilst York stages the John Smith’s Cup on Saturday.
Falmouth Stakes – Friday – Newmarket
The Coral Eclipse highlighted the “horses for courses” theory last week with three horses at double-figure odds filling the frame, and the likes of The Fugue, Night of Thunder and Kingston Hill never at the races. Admittedly Newmarket is a little fairer than Sandown, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the super array of fillies on show here do have varying degrees of Newmarket success.
The Michael Stoute trained Integral, the current ante-post favourite, and winner of four of her seven races, looked an improved performer at Royal Ascot. However, she has raced twice at Newmarket previously coming off second best both times, the first of which was a one-length defeat by today’s rival Sky Lantern.
Officially the highest rated filly in the field, Sky Lantern is two from four at Newmarket. However, closer scrutiny shows that form to be even better as she was second to the subsequently disappointing Hot Snap over 7-furlongs on her first run at HQ, before reversing that form in scintillating fashion in the 2013 1,000 Guineas. Defeated a neck by Elusive Kate when returning to the course later that season, it was possible that Sky Lantern was jaded after doing the Guineas/Royal Ascot Double, and also unsuited by the small field, a point she proved when trouncing Elusive Kate when returning to Newmarket after a 7 week rest. At 5/2, she looks a more solid option than Integral.
Of the other s Rizeena is 0/4 at Newmarket yet 3/3 at Ascot, whilst the Charlie Hills trained pair, Kiyoshi and Just the Judge, have managed just one Newmarket win between them from six outings.
On the flipside, one horse who has an exemplary record at Newmarket is Goldolphin’s Certify who is 3/3, winning over 6, 7 and 8 furlongs, and may well be worth an each-way saver at 20/1.
Sky Lantern win 5/2
Certify each-way 20/1
Prince of Wales – Thursday – Newmarket
None of the runners have a compelling Newmarket record, and this may be left to favourite Arab Spring who was visually stunning when routing a field of handicappers at Royal Ascot off top-weight. Looked a group horse there and should prove it here.
Arab Spring 15/8 or better
July Cup – Saturday – Newmarket
Slade Power was third behind Lethal Force and Society Rock last year, and Eddie Lynam’s charge probably faces nothing of the quality of those two horses here, and has arguably improved further in the last twelve months. Meanwhile, there has been continued strong support for Spanish raider Noozhoh Canarias who finished sixth in the 2,000 Guineas, looking all over a sprinter, whilst Kevin Ryan will be praying for rain for Hot Streak and Astaire. All ground comes alike for Slade Power though and he’ll take some beating whatever the weather.
Slade Power 3/1 or better
Bunbury Cup – Saturday – Newmarket
Neither Abseil or Horstead Keynes have run at Newmarket before but, whilst Abseil flopped from a reasonable draw at Royal Ascot, Horstead Keynes ran a fantastic race from a poor draw to finish second, and has to be backed to gain compensation here for trainer Roger Varian.
Horstead Keynes 8/1 or better
John Smith’s Cup – York – Saturday
Farraaj may make it a big-handicap double for Roger Varian here if the ground stays on the fast-side. He missed Royal Ascot, but was super impressive at Epsom and should get the fast-pace he relishes. If the ground turns soft, then Clever Cookie may well maintain an impressive run of form, whilst Bold Smiper will be aiming to pick them all off.
Farraaj (fast ground) 10/1
Clever Cookie (Soft ground) 10/1