Darley July Cup Group1 6f Newmarket Saturday – Nine 3yo’s have lifted the July Cup since 1990 and two of this year’s classic generation have the potential to make it ten. Of serious interest are the Aidan O’Brien trained Air Force Blue, and Karl Burke’s flying filly, Quiet Reflection. The former, winner of three Group1 races at two (one at 6f), ended the season as the top rated 2yo, but so far this season has been disappointing. He was sent off the 4/5 favourite for the 2000gns but trailed in second last, 15L behind the winner, and did even worse in the Irish equivalent finishing nearly 20L out the back. However plenty of winners of the July Cup in the 1970s and 1980s, having failed to stay the mile, found their true metier in the sprinting game, and indeed two of Aidan’s previous three winners, Stravinsky 1999 and Mozart 2001, fit this profile. By War Front, Air Force Blue needs good ground, so with the forecast for a dry weekend, he is well worth considering.
Karl Burke’s daughter of Showcasing, Quiet Reflection, changed hands as a 2yo for £44,000, and having banked over £400,000 from her six victories, including two Group3s, a Group2, and last time, that scintillating win in the Group1 Commonwealth Cup at the Royal Meeting, she has proved a rare bargain. Always travelling comfortably within herself, she quickened impressively inside the final furlong to win in the style of a really high class filly. Two slight reservations about her prospects on Saturday would be, that she seems to need a little ease in the ground and secondly, that no 3yo filly has won since Habibti in 1983. However Burke’s filly looks a really exceptional animal and given any cut in the ground has to be on the short list.
Clive Cox has supplemented his Kings Stand winner, Profitable, (tipped by Oddsguru) at a cost of £40,000 for Saturday’s contest, and if getting the extra furlong, the son of Invincible Spirit would be a danger to all. He certainly wasn’t stopping at Ascot, and considering his shrewd trainers decision to spend connections cash so lavishly, they must be pretty confident that the tough Profitable will last home. However the stats are against him as no winner of the Kings Stand has doubled up in the last twenty years and winning form at the trip has been a must.(The Cox horse was unplaced in his only attempt at 6f).
Since 1970, thirteen winners have come from the 6f Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the winner, fourth and fifth of this year’s renewal are of definite interest. The winner, Henry Candy’s 4yo colt Twilight Son won on merit, turning around 4 1/2L deficit on previous York running with Magical Memory, but he did have conditions to suit. Soft ground is ideal and with the barometer rising may find the going too fast. However this winner of six of his eight races, two at the top level, is clearly improving at a rate of knots, and does have a victory on Gd/Fm over 6f at Headquarters, (Rowley) on his c.v.
Fourth in the Diamond Jubilee, Magical Memory was less than 1/2L behind Twilight son on the unsuitably sticky surface, and as he also wasn’t the recipient of one of Frankie Dettori’s better rides, hopes are high, that given good ground, placings can be reversed. He showed he can handle the undulations of the course when taking the valuable 3yo handicap on the card last year, so a repeat of his excellent York performance when beating Suedois and Danzeno should see him go close.
Another who will appreciate faster conditions is Henry Candy’s second string, Limato.
This 4yo gelding returns to 6f for the first time since finishing second in last year’s Group1 Commonwealth Cup and is actually rated 2lbs higher than Twilight Son. There has been plenty of interest in the him in the market so given fast ground must be worth considering.
Cotai Glory took everyone by surprise when running such a fine race in the Kings Stand on what was considered unsuitably soft ground. A 33/1 shot, he closed over 1f out and ran on strongly to get within a neck of Profitable. He has only raced over 6f twice, finishing second to Limato in a listed race at Newbury as a 2yo. Hailing from the same yard as Magical Memory, trainer Hills is quite bullish about his prospects, noting how well he was staying on all the way up the hill at Ascot. Given fast ground at the weekend, another to consider!
Selection: Magical Memory
E.W. : Cotai Glory