It is day one of Newmarket's Moet & Chandon July Festival on Thursday, as I am not having a bet on Wednesday I am going up nice and early with my punts.
I really do like the old July course, it is without doubt one of the most picturesque venues and there is a slightly more relaxed feel to it all. If you can I would advise you pop along for one of the days; if you can’t get there ITV cover all three days with ITV3 showing the racing on Thursday and Friday and the main channel taking over for Saturday card.
Charlie Appleby and James Doyle have cracking strike-rates so don’t be surprised to see a few Godolphin horses going in over the next three days; Doyle, of course, will also ride for William Haggas.
The meeting gets underway at 1.50 Thursday with the Group Three 1m5f Bahrain Trophy Stakes and one that caught my eye earlier this week was Eagles By Day. He has been chasing home the likes of Anthony Van Dyck when sixth in the Listed Lingfield Derby Trial and Japan when third in the G.2 King Edward VII Stakes last time. The way he stayed on over 1m4f at Ascot suggests this extra furlong should be of little concern and with the current leading jockey Daniel Tudhope in the saddle again a big run is expected. The best price you could get earlier today was 9-4 and I had a bit of that.
It is the 6f Group Two July Stakes for two-year-old colts at 2.25. Guildsman won on debut and then ran third in the G.2 Coventry at Ascot behind one of the more impressive 2yo’s seen this year so far Arizona; on that form, the Archie Watson trained colt has to be on the shortlist. Visinari has headed the market in the run-up to the meeting having won well on debut over tack and trip in June making all. He and Ottoman Court went clear of the field in that race with Visinari 3½ lengths too good for the Godolphin colt, in the end, looking to have plenty left under the hood. The grey looked like one likely to win a decent race that day, he has some big entries, and I have a bit of the 5-4 that was available on Tuesday. Frankie Dettori takes over in the saddle from Ryan Moore.
The Group Two 1m4f Princess Of Wales's Tattersalls Stakes is the race of day one at 3.35. Last years Derby Winner Masar made a bit of a hash of his comeback race at the Royal meeting (I tipped him) but I have not given up on him yet. He had been off the track for just over a year before that run in the G.2 Hardwicke and it went wrong literally from the start for him; he will at the very least strip fitter for the run. It is the aforementioned combination of Doyle and Appleby obviously which is seen as a plus and I took the 5-4 that was about on Tuesday. Talking earlier this week Appleby said: "Masar has enjoyed a faultless preparation since his run in the Hardwicke. We are confident that he is in as good a condition as we have ever had him and is the one they have to beat on Thursday.”
At 4.40 it is the Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes over a mile. I wanted to back Godolphin owned colt Art Du Val but he won’t be appearing and I am leaving the race alone. Urban Icon and Turgenev are the highest rated in the filed but both are getting in the habit of getting beat.