Darley July Cup Stakes Group1 6f Newmarket (July Course)

vincent obrien guruThe immortal Vincent O’Brien (pictured), won Saturday’s feature a record equalling 5 times, and his successor at Ballydoyle, the eponymous Aidan, (no relation) will be hoping that one of his contenders at the weekend can land The July Cup, enabling him to join his illustrious predecessor, with win number 5 in the event. Aidan, who won last year’s renewal with the 3yo, US Navy Flag, is mob handed at the time of writing, but his best chance of landing a fifth success would seem to lie with either, Ten Sovereigns or the filly, Fairyland.

The former, a son of the top sprinter, No Nay Never, was unbeaten in his 3 races as a 2yo and and rounded off his juvenile career with a splendid victory in Newmarket’s Group1 Middle Park Stakes. Sent off the 9/4Fav for The 2000Guineas he didn’t stay and finished 5th, 4 3/4L behind stable companion, Magna Grecia. He reverted to 6f last time for Royal Ascot’s Commonwealth Cup where he started favourite but could only finish 4th, 2 1/2L behind Saturday’s opponent Advertise. There didn’t seem to be any excuses that day, but it was the softest ground he had raced on and back on a firmer surface (won The Middle Park on Good/Firm) it could be closer between them.

The 3yo filly Fairyland (pictured below cost £925,000 as a yearling) won 4 of her 5 starts at 2, including The Marble Hill Stakes at The Curragh, York’s Group2 Lowther Stakes and Newmarket’s Group1 Chevely Park Stakes, all on Good/Firm ground over 6f. fairyland fillyShe didn’t seem to get home in either the English or Irish 1000Guineas and reverted to 5f for Royal Ascot’s King’s Stand Stakes last time. Starting at 16/1 she ran well enough to finish 5th but probably found the trip too sharp. By that strong influence for speed, Kodiac, she is out of an unraced daughter of that speedy mare, Land Of Dreams, (won Doncaster’s 5f speed test, the Group2 Flying Childers, and is the dam of the triple Group1 winning speedster, Dream Ahead) and it won’t come as the greatest surprise if  Fairyland should emulate those two outstanding 3yo Fillies, Marwell And Habibti, who landed the spoils back in the eighties.

Sir Michael Stoute is seeking his 4th win in the race and current market leader,
Dream Of Dreams must have serious prospects of providing it. michael stoute darleyThe 5yo son of
Dream Ahead has looked a much improved performer this term, landing 2 conditions races, at Chelmsford and Windsor, before putting in a career best effort last time when failing by a fast diminishing head to catch Blue Point, (now retired) in Royal Ascot’s Group1 Diamond Jubilee. Indeed he would have landed the spoils in another few strides and is definitely worth his new rating of 120, 9lbs higher than his previous best. Despite a poor performance in his only other race over the course, (10/11 nearly two years ago following a break) he will be difficult to beat.

Top handler, Roger Varian has yet to get his name on the roll of honour, but the way his son of Shamardal, Cape Byron, demolished a field of 26 handicappers to win The Wokingham at the Royal meeting last time it may not take too long. Campaigned at 7f and above, it was his first attempt at Saturday’s trip in his 13 race career, and the way he cruised into the lead a furlong out and went on to win so comfortably, connections must have been asking themselves why it had taken them so long to work out that 6f is clearly the 5yo’s trip. Saturday presents a different challenge with the step up to Group1 Class, but now that he has found his optimum distance he could well be up to it.

The Martyn Meade trained 3yo Advertise won 3 of his 5 starts at 2 including the Group1 Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh, his only defeats coming, when out stayed by Too Darn Hot over 7f in The Dewhurst, and when racing on the wrong side in The Coventry, he was beaten a length by the talented Calyx.

trainer martyn meade

Newmarket handler Meade saddles Advertise

He failed to stay in The 2000Guineas but showed that sprinting is definitely his game when comfortably landing The Commonwealth Cup last time and the son of Showcasing must have excellent prospects of maintaining the good recent record of the Classic generation,
(have won 3 of the last 4 runnings).

Despite an honourable 2nd in The Irish 1000Guineas, the filly Pretty Pollyanna, has failed to stay in her last three races, all over a mile, and she now reverts to 6f, a trip she had top class form over as a 2yo. She won Newmarket’s Group2 July Stakes over course and distance by an impressive 7L from Angel’s Hideaway, collected Deauville’s Group1 Prix Morny against the boys, and finished 4th, 1 3/4L behind Fairyland in The Chevely Park. Her excellent trainer, Michael Bell is in top form, and the daughter of Oasis Dream could get involved at a nice price.

Selection   : Dream Of Dreams

EW.             : Fairyland

John Gray

Kings Stand Stakes (Group1) 5f Royal Ascot

Betting Preview : Kings Stand Stakes (Group1) 5f Royal Ascot Tuesday – Having won the contest with Prohibit in 2011 and Goldream two years ago, that master trainer of sprinters, Robert Cowell certainly knows what is required, and is quite hopeful that his talented 8yo might regain his crown. The son of Oasis Dream was an excellent third to last year’s Prix de L’Abbaye heroine, Marsha, on his reappearance in the Palace House Stakes at Headquarters in May, and was probably a little unlucky to be beaten by Priceless in the Temple Stakes at Haydock. He lost ground with an uncharacteristic slow exit from the gate, and was only beaten 1/2L. The 8yo seems to be as good as ever and given his preferred fast ground could prove Mr Cowell’s optimism well founded.

Current market leader is the flying 3yo American filly, Lady Aurelia, who was so impressive when winning last years 5f Queen Mary Stakes at the meeting. She flew from the gate, and coasted home by 7L, in the hands of Frankie Dettori. She went on to take a Deauville 6f Group1 at odds of 2/7, but then suffered her only defeat when breaking a blood vessel at Newmarket. She was impressive when winning a listed race at Keenland on her reappearance proving that she has trained on, so with that scintillating Queen Mary performance in mind, is fully entitled to her position at the top of the market. However 3yo’s haven’t a great record in the Kings Stand and we have to go back 36 years to find the last successful filly of the classic generation, (The Michael Stoute trained Marwell in 1981).

The 2015 winner of the Queen Mary, the ex American filly, Acapulco, is now in the hands of Tipperary maestro, Aidan O ‘Brien, and she made her debut for the stable a winning one when landing a 5f Curragh listed race five weeks ago. She would need to step up considerably on this performance to figure on Tuesday but the key to her seems to be good fast ground, so given her conditions and coming from this yard, expect a big run.

The only animal to retain his title the following year has been the legendary Sole Power, but last year’s winner, (and Oddsguru’s selection), Profitable, is not without a chance of emulating him.

profitable kings stand

Profitable landed the spoils last year for the Oddsguru.

A winner of the 2016 renewals of The Palace House Stakes, The Temple Stakes, and The Kings Stand Stakes, all on easy ground, he made a satisfactory reappearance when finishing second to Signs Of Blessing (gave 11lbs) in a Deauville Group3 seven weeks ago. Trainer Clive Cox blamed the poor draw and very tacky ground for the defeat and is confident of a top performance on Tuesday.

Cox is also represented by the 4yo filly Priceless, and this winner of four of her twelve starts looked an improving type when coasting home by 5L on her seasonal debut, in a Bath listed race. Well fancied for the Palace House Stakes next time out, she ran far too freely, and finished fifth. She made amends twenty four days ago when taking the Temple stakes, and given good or faster ground on Tuesday is worth considering.

The Sir Mark Prescott trained 4yo filly Marsha, was something of a surprise package when winning last year’s Group1 Prix de L’Abbaye, but showed that it was no fluke, when, despite carrying her Group1 penalty, she won The Palace House Stakes 45 days ago. She had eleven of Tuesday’s field behind her that day all of whom will be meeting her on worse terms, again emphasising what an improving animal she is, and she looks the one to beat.

The Willie Haggas trained Muthmir has only raced at Ascot on the one occasion and that was in the 2015 renewal of The Kings Stand where he put up an excellent performance to finish third to Goldream. The son of Invincible Spirit got this season off to a flying start with a convincing win over Mr Lupton and Tuesday’s opponent Willytheconqueror at Bath, but then disappointed behind Marsha in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. However, he has never performed well at headquarters, and we saw a different horse last time. He won his third Group2, from another of Tuesday’s opponents, Finsbury Square, by a length, with Willytheconqueror 6 3/4L back in seventh, at Chantilly sixteen days ago. This run strongly suggests that he is back to his best and as he is likely to get the fast run race that suits so well, is another to consider, particularly as he is available at odds of 20/1 at the time of writing.

Selection : Marsha
E.W. : Muthmir

John Gray