There are top quality races and large, competitive fields, for punters to enjoy across the country this afternoon, where one of the highlights of the season, the July Cup, takes centre stage at Newmarket.
Darley July Cup
Aussie raider BRAZEN BEAU looks the one to beat in the 6 furlong contest after his fine effort at Royal Ascot last time out.
He ploughed his own furrow up the stands side that day, but battled on gamely to beat all bar the American challenger, Undrafted, and there must be a strong chance that compensation awaits here on a course that suits front runners.
It is worth noting here that Coral are offering new customers enhanced odds of 10/1 on Brazen Beau to win the July Cup here.
Unsurprisingly, there are no end of challengers, but the biggest threats to the favourite could come from some big priced outsiders.
The first of them is JACK DEXTER, who has run two cracking races over 5f on his last two starts and who should relish the return to further. He is in the form of his life at 6 years of age and doesn’t seem to need give in the ground anymore.
DUE DILIGENCE is also interesting as Coolmore are persisting with him in these Group 1 contests. He was well backed in Brazen Beau’s race at Ascot, only to lose his action and run no sort of race. He is clearly still showing plenty at home and if anyone can get him back to peak form then surely Aiden O’Brien can.
Finally, don’t dismiss 100/1 shot Steps either. Roger Varian’s horses are flying at the moment and, again, this horse should improve for the extra furlong today.
|Brazen Beau (win)||3.45 Newmarket||5/2||Bet365, Coral|
|Jack Dexter (ew)||3.45 Newmarket||33/1||Stan James|
|Due Diligence (ew)||3.45 Newmarket||25/1||Bet365, Betfred, Ladbrokes|
bet365 Bunbury Cup
The chief supporting contest at flat racing’s HQ is the Bunbury Cup over 7f and BRONZE ANGEL is a standing dish in competitive handicaps like this.
He loves quick ground and the return to 7f should be in his favour as he was just touched off in the Hunt Cup over a mile last time out.
LULU THE ZULU could give him most to do – she looks an improving mare and put up a decent performance when touched off at Newcastle two weeks ago having idled in front. Apprentice Ali Rawlinson takes off 5lb from an unchanged mark from that race.
Unforgiving Minute look best of the rest.
|Bronze Angel (ew)||3.10 Newmarket||9/1||Bet365, Coral|
|Lulu The Zulu (ew)||3.10 Newmarket||14/1||Bet365, Coral|
John Smith’s Cup
The 56th running of the John Smith’s Cup is the highlight at York where another lightly raced sort, VOICE OF A LEADER, could prove the value. He was 4th of 18 in a hot handicap over course and distance last time out and is hopefully still ahead of the handicapper.
Of those at bigger prices, it might be worth having a punt on LOVING SPIRIT who has been rejuvenated by a switch to Richard Fahey.
All of his form is over much shorter trips, which is why he is such a big price, but his pedigree suggests he should stay and he is in the form of his life at the moment.
|Voice Of A Leader (ew)||3.25 York||14/1||Sportingbet|
|Loving Spirit (ew)||3.25 York||33/1||Sky Bet|
Other features on the card are the John Smith’s Silver Cup and the City Walls Stakes.
John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes
Stamina will be the key in the former contest and the step up in trip should suit GREAT HALL, who ran well over a shorter trip in a competitive handicap at Haydock last time out. He looks well handicapped based on his last three efforts and he loves quick ground.
MONTALY is the other one that interests us as he should be hitting peak form now following two starts so far this campaign. The trip was too short for him at Epsom last time out and in time he may even need further than this 1m 6f test.
|Great Hall (ew)||2.20 York||14/1||Bet365, Coral|
|Montaly (ew)||2.20 York||13/2||Sky Bet|
John Smith’s City Walls Stakes
The City Walls Stakes is a real speed contest and if the ground is quick there are very few better over this trip than one of our favourite horses in training, TAKE COVER.
He won this last year and ran really well at Royal Ascot last time out, suggesting he retains all of his ability.
The danger could be a horse at the other end of his career – the three year old, COTAI GLORY, who is also a real speed merchant.
This is his first start of the campaign, which is a concern, but he too likes this surface and he could prove to be a class above these if he has trained on from his juvenile campaign.
|Take Cover (ew)||2.55 York||6/1||Sky Bet|
|Cotai Glory (ew)||2.55 York||8/1||Bet365, Ladbrokes|
Totescoop6 Heritage Handicap
The best bet at Ascot may be in the opener, where GAMESOME is interesting now dropped in trip to five furlongs with the first time blinkers applied.
He didn’t quite last home over an extra furlong at Windsor last time out and has run creditably in a series of hot handicaps on recent starts.
|Gamesome (ew)||2.10 Ascot||9/1||Bet365|