It's July Cup Saturday at Newmarket
Day Three (Saturday 14th July 2012)
1.40 - 32Red Casino Handicap (CLASS 2) (3yo 0-100) Winner £12,450 CH4 Soft 1m: With 9 of the last 10 winners carrying 9-3 or less then those that like their trends might be ignoring the top five on the card. However, trainer Sir Michael Stoute likes to target races he’s won before at this meeting, as I highlighted back on Thursday with Fiorente, and having won this contest twice in recent years then his SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD is respected. A winner by an impressive 5 lengths on his debut at Windsor was a great start to his career and although this is clearly tougher, the fact he’s already won over further suggests getting home, on what could be testing ground come Saturday, will not be an issue – Ryan Moore gets the leg-up. Of the rest, the unbeaten Godolphin runner ASATIR could be anything, and will be popular in the betting after winning all his three starts to date – but they’ve all come on fast surfaces so far and, therefore, will need to prove he’s as good with a bit of cut underfoot.
2.10 - 32Red.com Superlative Stakes (Group 2) (CLASS 1) (2yo) Winner £34,026 CH4
Soft 7f: This 7f trip in horse racing is a very specialized one – with speed and a certain amount of stamina required - so anything that’s won previously over this trip does have an advantage. 8 of the last 10 winners were placed in their previous race, while 7 hailed from stall 5 or lower. Mick Channon’s Luhaif was a very decent winner over this course and distance last time out (won by 6 lengths), but this will be tougher and the softer ground is not sure to suit. If you are stats follower, and you like to believe in fate, then with 4 of the last 10 winners coming out of stall 3 you might be drawn to backing Frankie Dettori’s mount ARTIGIANO. However, the one juvenile I’ve been very impressed with so far is MAXENTIUS, from the Peter Chapple-Hyam team. The yard is in cracking form, and this colt has won both his starts in eye-catching fashion – being sent off favourite on both occasions. It’s no secret that connections really like him and this strong-travelling sort could be an exciting prospect for the rest of the year.
2.40 - 32Red Bunbury Cup (Handicap) (CLASS 2) (3yo+) Winner £31,125 CH4 Soft 7f: Another race over the 7f trip, so again look out for anything with previous distance form – in fact all of the last 10 winners of this race had previously been successful over 7f. 90% of the last 10 winners also had 3 or more runs already that season, while 7 carried 9-3 or less. 4 and 5 year-old also have the best recent record and, therefore, in a tricky race to unravel the advice is to keep stakes low and with 4 places up for grabs then back your fancies each-way too. My two against the field are the short-priced EXCELLENT GUEST, who was an excellent second in the Royal Hunt Cup last time out at Royal Ascot, and at big price RAKAAN. The last-named has a bit to find on the book and might not want the ground too soft, but does fit quite a few of the key trends and is slowly slipping back down to a handy mark –did win off 101 over in Dubai earlier this year - plus the two times he’s raced on the July Course he’s finished second!
3.20 - Darley July Cup (British Champions Series And Global Sprint Challenge) (Group 1) (CLASS 1) (3yo+) Winner £256,329 CH4 Soft 6f: Bated Breath (now a non-runner) will be popular here, after running second in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot last time out, and was also a close second in this race 12 months ago – he looks sure to play a part. The Aussie raider Ortensia is better than her last run (9th King’s Stand) and it’s interesting that connections have kept her over for this, but the call here is SOCIETY ROCK. The James Fanshawe yard took this in 2004 and after missing the break in the Diamond Jubilee last time behind Black Caviar he actually did well to finish fifth that day. He was seventh in the race back in 2010, but more importantly won’t mind any give in the ground and is sure to be staying on in the closing stages when others have cried enough. Of those at a bigger price the very much in-form LIBRANNO (e/w) could be overpriced. He’s won his last two, was fourth in this race last season, and having won plenty of times over 7f will not lack for stamina in the final furlong either.
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