Day three of the Moët & Chandon July Festival sees the speedsters taking centre stage with the Group One Darley July Cup the main event. There is racing the length and breadth of the country but I am concentrating on HQ and a Listed heat up at Chester.
The Group Two bet365 Superlative Stakes over seven for the 2yo’s kicks off day three at HQ at 1.05. Aidan O’Brien appeared to hold a strong hand with the usual plethora of entries but only one lines-up in the shape of Cape Of Good Hope. He won a little race at Tipperary last week but was the one I fancied least from all their entries and he is not for me. Charlie Appleby and Godolphin send Quorto who impressed in making a winning debut in a Newmarket 6f novice contest on good to firm in June. By Dubawi he is the first foal of Volume who won at Listed level before placing up in the Oaks and Irish Oaks in her racing career. He really did quicken clear nicely to win on debut and should prove a decent colt; I have the 9-4.
The Group One Darley July Cup Stakes at HQ Newmarket is the main event on Saturday over six furlongs. They line-up at 2.15 and this could be a cracker. Last year's winner Harry Angel will not defend his as he needs more time to recover from the cut leg he sustained when a beaten favourite in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the royal meeting. Blue Point is a member of my Dirty Dozen for the year. I was going to back him each-way in the five-furlong Kings Stand at Ascot, didn’t, and have been kicking myself ever since. He is a decent colt and I had to get on at 3-1. Talking on Monday Appleby told At The Races “I’m delighted with the way he’s come out of the race (King’s Stand Stakes) and looking forward to him stepping back up to six,”
Aidan O’Brien had ten of the nineteen left in at the start of the week and unsurprisingly that number has whittled down a little but he still has five. The main Ballydoyle hope has to be US Navy Flag and the colt expected to benefit from dropping back in trip from a mile as last season's European champion two-year-old has his first start over six furlongs since he landed the G.1 Middle Park Stakes last September. The 6lb weight-for-age is a big help and he should go close. The Ballydoyle quintet is completed by Intelligence Cross, Spirit Of Valor, Fleet Review and Sioux Nation who I backed for the Commonwealth Cup where he was disappointing. Eqtidaar was the impressive winner of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and also gets the 6lb weight-for-age. He had a solo five-furlong canter on the July Course last weekend ‘for an eye-opener’ on a track he has never seen whilst second from the Ascot race Sands Of Mali is another in with a chance. Redrick Warrior will be looking to repair a dented reputation having been disappointing in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot. He will have Regan Bayliss in the saddle - the 21-year-old has steered the seven-year-old to each of his three victories at Group One level down under – he reportedly went well in a solo five-furlong workout on the July Course.
The Listed Corbettsports City Plate Stakes at 3.15 over seven up at Chester looks to my eyes a great opportunity for Lake Volta. The Mark Johnston trained gelding loves to front run and has the perfect pitch in one to nip out and lead the opposition a merry dance in this. He won the Listed Surrey Stakes at left-handed Epsom on their turning seven-furlong strip which bodes well for here before a couple of tries in G.3 company at Newmarket and York. No-one had priced up at the time of writing but I will be wading in as soon as the prices do go up.