This friday sees the The July Cup take centre stage, run at Newmarket since 1876 this is one of the major sprint races of the calendar and this year we have the usual big names ready to do battle and claim their fame.
The Golden Jubilee and Kings Stand are the races that have been the most informative over the years and this time we have 12 taking their chance from the former. Starspangledbanner was the winner of that race, in course record time, but that record was to be taken away from him in the very next race by Laddies Poker Two. She does not take her place here as the owners rely on Starspangledbanner, which is a pity as it could have been a great battle between them and we are now unlikely to see them run against each other this season. Starspangledbanner improved markedly on his first run for O'Brien and if the 7/4 fav has improved further then the others may as well stay in their boxes.
Others in the Golden Jubilee such as Fleeting Spirit will feel they can get closer this time, she was having her first run of the season in that and she was also racing on the unfavoured far side that day. Noseda says she is sharper for the race and will appreciate the fast ground, however he doesnt think she would have won the Golden Jubilee even if she had been on the stands side, but she is in top order and did a good piece of work on monday. Frankie Dettori rides and provided she is drawn close to the pace she will go well.
Kinsale King will never have seen a track like Newmarket and neither will some of the Aussie horses and the american horse looked to be fading at Ascot towards the end so will find this very tough uphill finish a struggle in my view.
James Fanshawe hasnt really been convincing in saying this would be a definite target for Society Rock so in showing those reservations Im not keen to side with him.
Its probably too far for Equiano as he has shown his best form this season at 5f, however Kingsgate Native, if he puts his best foot forward, could be a bit of value at 16/1, but you just dont know which horse is going to turn up with him.
Nicconi stayed on well in the Kings Stand and will appreciate the extra distance but he is not up to the usual standard of Australian sprinters and the fav was probably better than him when back in his homeland.
Marchand D'or and Balthazars Gift are lively outsiders with the latter having had a highish draw in the Golden Jubilee, he moved across to the stands side before threading his way through to finish with a flourish, he too will improve for the run and 50/1 is worth a small punt.
Starspangledbanners price is very short for such a competitive sprint and he too will not have encountered a course such as this, so if you fancy one to beat him then you should go for it in my view. However we shall take another look at the race when the final declarations and the draw are known.