cracking days racing at HQ Newmarket gets underway on Thursday with Ladies Day
at the Moët & Chandon July Festival.
First up, and a bit of fun, Sheikh Fahad Al Thani will clash with former international showjumper Tim Gredley among others as he bids for a second successive victory in the Newmarket Town Plate. The three-and-three-quarter-mile race was instigated in 1665 and is a contest for true amateurs.
On to the racing proper and Roger Charlton will have his Royal Ascot King George V Stakes hero, and Triple G Dirty Dozen member, Atty Persse raring to go for the Group Three Bahrain Trophy at 1.50 the first race of the meeting. The Godolphin owned Frankel colt will be testing the water in Group Three company for the first time. Talking earlier this week the trainer said "He is an intended runner and I think James Doyle will be riding. He's been good since Ascot. He's a tough little horse, he's had no problems and he's training well. He finished off well at Ascot having gone pretty quick down the hill. A mile and a half at Ascot, in a competitive handicap, takes a bit of getting."Asked whether a tilt at the St Leger is under consideration, the trainer told At The Races earlier this week "It's always nice to think one might have a runner in a Classic, but it's a long way off. Thursday is the Bahrain Trophy and the next step in the right direction, I hope." I hope so as well and as I have been following him all season I have the 11-4 for him taking this today before possibly a tilt at the Leger.
The Group Two July Stakes for the babies over six furlongs follows at 2.25. G.2 Coventry Stakes hero Rajasinghe trained by Richard Spencer will try to defy a 3lb penalty for his Royal Ascot success as he attempts to make it three wins from as many starts. It was a bit of a messy race and they finished in a heap so I am not sure it’s the best of form; Murillo and De Bruyne Horse were third and fourth subsequently in the G2 Railway Stakes. Sound and Silence won the Listed Windsor Castle over five at the Royal Meeting and may be capable of taking this step up in distance and class in his stride but nothing much has come out of that race either since. Invincible Army was second on debut, literally beaten on the nod, and then won over track and trip in June, taking it up at the furlong pole and eased five lengths clear. This is a big step up in class form that heat but with questions marks about the form of the market principles at 6-1 he is my choice to hopefully come out on top; the James Tate stable is also in good form as an added bonus!
The highlight of day one at 3.35 is the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Stakes, which has been won for the last two years by Triple G favourite Big Orange – the big guy is having a well deserved rest this year having won the Gold Cup! One that will be here is Frontiersman trained by Charlie Appleby who was last seen finishing second in the G.1 Coronation Cup at Epsom; the colt did not run in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot (I was going to tip him) due to a bad scope. All being well he is in fine fettle today and I am on at 11-10. The Newmarket handler is also represented by last year's Eclipse hero Hawkbill, but said earlier this week "Frontiersman is our number one contender. He has done nothing but please us of late. I am applying the cheekpieces just to help him along. He has got an ungenuine head carriage, which is not his fault, but he is not an ungenuine horse. The cheekpieces will just help him concentrate. I think they have all got him to beat. He just had a dirty scope a few days before Ascot and I would have loved to have run him there, but thinking long-term you don't want to put these horses under pressure and we have sat patient with him.”