The Newmarket July Festival gets underway on Thursday on the July Course (surprise) with Ladies Day. The Moët & Chandon July Festival to give it its full title is a cracking three-days of racing and we have plenty to look forward to. We have three Group races and a Listed heat on day one plus a couple of tricky handicaps and a Maiden Fillies' Stakes in which half the field could be anything as they say.
Best bets for day one, Thursday, at the Moët & Chandon July Festival at Newmarket
At 1.50 it is the 1m5f Group Three Bahrain Trophy Stakes where Masekela will be jolly having finished fourth in the Derby last time, albeit a slightly distant one. I am on another one that ran at Epsom though and actually finished last. Walk Of Stars was quietly fancied by many at Epsom and his run there was too bad to be true. Promptly gelded after I am prepared to give him a chance here at the 3-1. He has drifted a little overnight but I am sure there is more to come from this one. I noted with interest Charlie Appleby saying in an interview “We felt he was entitled to be there, but on the day, it was a disappointing run. I feel that the gelding operation gives us the best chance of bringing out the racehorse in him. And the signs so far are good.”
Next is the Group Two 6f Close Brothers July Stakes at 2.25. I tipped Little Big Bear at the Royal meeting when he won the 5f Listed Windsor Castle Stakes, the form of which is looking pretty strong. His two wins have been over five but his defeat on debut was over six-furlongs by the shortest of short-heads in a maiden at the Curragh from which the form looks strong. I am on the Ballydoyle colt again at 13-8. Persian Force was second in the G.2 6f Coventry at Royal Ascot and has to be respected. The promising Mysterious Night, a winner at Newbury on his second start, is one that might give the market principals something to think about as well as Brave Nation, that I tipped when won on debut, as he may prove better than his run in the Norfolk suggests.
At 3.35 the older generation line-up for the Group Two Princess Of Wales's Close Brothers Stakes over 1m4f. Yibir is one I have tipped several times in his career and he won me a nice few quid last season. He hasn’t quite scaled the same heights this season thus far but I fancy him to bounce back after a disappointing in the Man O'War Stakes last time across the pond. I have the 11-8. Charlie Appleby was upbeat about his chances earlier this week “Back on quick ground, and on a track which he has shown a liking for, he should run well. He had a break after coming back from New York in May, he looks great and he’s in good order for this.”
John Gosden and Frankie Dettori have kissed and made-up it appears as Gosden said earlier this week "It's my decision that Frankie will ride Mighty Ulysses on Thursday and Inspiral on Friday before he heads to New York. We had a couple of meetings and we are looking forward to the future with more focus on the job.” They are duly reunited in the Listed mile Edmondson Hall Solicitors Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at 4.10 with Frankie riding Mighty Ulysses, who will be favourite. I aint on him though. Albahr appeared to dislike the drop back to seven and the Dirt when last seen in January at Meydan and that run can be forgiven. Prior to that the gelding was improving at a rate of knots last season and won the Grade One Summer Stakes at Woodbine on his last run as a two-year-old. I tipped him in Canada, in fact I think I have tipped him every time he has run other than at the Breeders Cup when he didn’t get to run anyway! Back on turf I think 11-2 is huge and have happily taken that as if fully fit I think he’d win, the worry is this one likely will be having a summer/autumn campaign and will no doubt come on for the run.