A total of 12 horses have been declared for this Saturday’s Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket including favourite and Commonwealth Cup winner Advertise, though he faces very stiff competition from the likes of Dream Of Dreams, Cape Byron and Ten Sovereigns.
The summer sprinting showpiece is worth £500,000 and despite the six-furlong distance there are some who maintain that to win this race, a horse will need to have the ability to stay further given the nature and camber of the July course and its stiff uphill finish.
While some so-called trends are proven time and again to be simply nonsense, needing a horse who stays further than six furlongs in context of this race appears to hold very true. Looking at just the last four winners of the race for example we see that all of them had this feature in their profile.
2018 winner US Navy Flag was stepping down from a mile when winning this race, something his trainer Aidan O’Brien had successfully done in the July Cup with Mozart back in 2001. Before that came Godolphin’s Harry Angel who was second in the Commonwealth Cup over Ascot’s stiff six, and it’s also to be noted that he saw out six furlongs well as juvenile on only his second start.
Three years ago, Limato won the race coming back from a mile and he was a horse who had stayed seven furlongs well at the top level, his win coming just a year after Muhaarar had taken the prize, a horse by July Cup winner Oasis Dream and who himself had won over seven furlongs.
Martyn Meade has once again managed to book man-of-the-moment Frankie Dettori for the mount on Advertise, a colt who crucially has won over the course and distance as a juvenile and who comes into the race as the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup champion.
Royal Ascot’s Big Names
Danny Tudhope is another jockey rightly earning rave reviews of late and he takes the mount on second-favourite Dream Of Dreams for Sir Michael Stoute, a five-year-old who put in a clear career best last time when just narrowly failing to reel in Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Another Royal scorer was Wokingham champion Cape Byron who bids to prove he is a Group-class horse, the Victoria Cup winner having proven himself over seven furlongs in the past.
Aidan O’Brien’s Ten Sovereigns has been a little disappointing this year having won the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes over on the Rowley Mile as a juvenile, and in coming down from a mile in the Guineas he has a similar profile to previous O’Brien winners.
That said, he had his chance when being sent off favourite in the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot and appeared to have no excuses as he was swept aside by Advertise and others.
One to watch at a very big price could be Charlie Appleby’s Glorious Journey. Unlike the favourites he hasn’t yet shown us his best and is just coming to himself now and a close look at his form reveals a couple of very interesting angles.
Firstly is the fact that he stays seven furlongs well, including when second on this course to Limato last time out in a Group 3, but also he was second to Dream Of Dreams at Windsor in a race not really run to suit.
He found things a little too quick there so considering he was just two lengths behind our second favourite here he should not be the price he is and looks a solid each-way shout for jockey James Doyle.