Best bets for the July Festival 2024 - day one Thursday

The Boodles July Festival gets underway on Thursday, Ladies Day, with a seven race card including three Group races and a Listed heat. It’s a cracking meeting on the July Course and as I have said before this track is one of my favourite places to be in the summer. They are due some sunshine on Thursday all being well but there is a fair chance of rain as the meeting progresses, the going for Thursday is soft-good to soft in places

The July Festival has proven a happy hunting ground for Godolphin down the years and they appear to have another strong squad lined up for the meeting. The lads from Ballydoyle have a few entered, though perhaps not the strongest raiding party ever. Team Gosden have a select band of entries, Andrew Balding has a few in with chances, whilst William Haggas has a few Group performers and handicappers worth a second look, more on one of them as the week goes by. Treasure Time, the three-year-old gelding I have a handful of shares in with RaceShare, is entered in the Bet365 Mile Handicap at Newmarket on Saturday and the 7f Sportvision Handicap at Ascot also on Saturday and I will let you know more about his plans over the coming days; the Ascot entry looks the easier of the pair on paper. 

Best bets for the horse racing at Newmarket Thursday

They get underway at 1.50 with the 1m5f Group Three Bahrain Trophy Stakes. Godolphin look to get the meeting off to a winning start with Ancient Wisdom lining up. He looked to be crying out for a step up in trip when no match to the impressive Economics in the 1m2f Dante and can be forgiven a relatively unimpressive effort when eighth in the Derby at Epsom last month looking like he didn't handle the track. Eighth in the Derby  is still a fair effort and the extra furlong here and calmer waters should see him back to winning ways. I am on at 11-10 overnight.  Charlie Appleby told the Godolphin website “They’ve had rain at Newmarket, although it looks as though the ground will be good to soft or probably nearer genuine good ground. We feel that the step up in trip is going to be the most important thing for Ancient Wisdom and he goes there in good order.”

There's a bit of Royal Ascot form represented in the 6f Group Two Kingdom Of Bahrain July Stakes at 2.25, with Whistlejacket the overnight jolly. Some of the Irish two-year-old early season form took a knock at Ascot and he might be worth taking on. Electrolyte just missed out in the G2 Coventry and brings the best form from the Royal meeting to the table though Ain't Nobody maintained his unbeaten record wining the Listed 5f Windsor Castle. Aomori City is clearly well liked at Moulton Paddocks to be pitched in here off the back of an impressive victory at Nottingham on debut. I noted Charlie Appleby saying this week “It’s a small but punchy race. Aomori City won first time out and has definitely come forward for that run. We were keen to come for this race afterwards and I can’t give any negatives on what he has done to date, both on the track and at home.” He is a tentative pick at 7-1 overnight to prove better than those with more experience. 

The Group Two 1m4f Princess Of Wales's Stakes at 3.35 should go to Hamish with the going in his favour and the slight drop back down in grade also a positive. He's odds-on though and unbackable for me. 

The mile Listed Edmondson Hall Solicitors Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at 4.45 looks pretty competitive to me. Lead Artist looks to have every chance stepping up in class. Bold Style is one I have tipped before and has gone well here in the past on the Rowley Mile at this level over shorter. Gelded recently if that has done the trick he won't have to improve much to win this, with the step-up to a mile also expected to suit. He probably wouldn't want anymore rain. I am on at 13-2 overnight. If they get any rain Native American and Kitty Rose enter calculations. 

I am all about the Godolphin blue and William Buick and Charlie Appleby on day one but that's the way it is and there's a couple at decent prices. 

Be lucky