THIS year’s July Cup is a race full of intrigue, with 12 of the best sprinters in the land locking horns for Group 1 supremacy.
Dream Of Dreams and Advertise head the market for the for the Group 1 contest at Newmarket.
1. Brando – Kevin Ryan/Tom Eaves (9-1)
Last year’s runner-up has been saved for this after winning a decent conditions race at Hamilton and will certainly be fresh enough.
This is arguably a tougher contest than last year but he deserves massive respect as a horse that goes well at the track and has genuine Group 1 form.
2. Cape Byron – Roger Varian/Andrea Atzeni (7-1)
Handicapper who looked exposed before dropping back in trip to 6f at Royal Ascot, where he bolted up in the fiercely-competitive Wokingham.
He deserves to be here on ratings but needs to find a little more now.
Roger Varian on Cape Byron
“He seems in good form. I thought his Wokingham win was comprehensive in a very competitive handicap carrying a large weight. It was a Group performance in some description.
“Whether it was a Group One performance, he probably needs to improve again to win a July Cup. You could argue he is still unexposed at the trip, but I think a stiff six furlongs like Newmarket should be tailor-made for him.
“If you are looking at Royal Ascot form, I thought Advertise was very impressive – and you give him a lot of respect, because he is a dual Group One winner now and he could bring the classiest form into the race.
“Sir Michael Stoute’s horse (Dream Of Dreams) chased home Blue Point and put in a Group One performance without winning. Ten Sovereigns may yet bounce back.
“There are some nice horses in the race, but you could argue there is not a sprinter stamping his authority on the division at the moment. It is a open year, so you could say it is a nice year to have a runner in the race.”
3. Dream Of Dreams – Sir Michael Stoute/Danny Tudhope (7-2)
Produced the run of his life to almost nab Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and would have a huge shout if reproducing that.
Likely to improve further given his profile and this really should be within his compass.
Bruce Raymond on Dream Of Dreams
“I wasn’t expecting him to run so well at Ascot, but I think Sir Michael was – he had every confidence in the horse.
“Obviously he finished the race off very well. Sir Michael was expecting a very prominent run and thought he’d go close.
“I’m not so sure about the track. He made his debut on the Rowley Mile and was only just beaten. It was soft ground that day and led us into thinking for a while that he needed it, but he doesn’t.
“This season he’s worked like a different horse – he only works on his own but he’s moving beautifully. He looks like a winner going up the gallops – but whether he can win this, I don’t know.
“He used to be keen early, but he’s not now. He’s a relaxed horse, and I don’t really need to say what a good job Sir Michael has done with him – his whole demeanour has changed.”
4. Glorious Journey – Charlie Appleby/James Doyle (33-1)
Improving sprinter finished just behind Limato over seven furlongs last time but is held by him and a couple of others.
Probably needs a tad further and he would be a surprise winner here.
5. Lim’s Cruiser – Stephen Gray/John Egan (66-1)
Decent horse in Singapore but up against it on these shores, as shown when finishing down the field behind Blue Point at Royal Ascot.
Likely to be up against it here.
6. Limato – Henry Candy/Harry Bentley (11-1)
Mastered Glorious Journey over 7f last time out but will be better suited to this distance and has claims if at his best.
Won the race a couple of years ago but needs to rediscover a little spark as he’s not quite been capable of landing races at the top level since.
7. Major Jumbo – Kevin Ryan/Kevin Stott (66-1)
Smart sprinter is probably more at home in handicap company, though he did run a big race in the Duke Of York Stakes behind Invincible Army a couple of starts ago.
Needs more here though, for all that he has bags of early pace.
8. Advertise – Martyn Meade/Frankie Dettori (3-1)
Favourite for this after bolting up in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, where first-time cheekpieces seemed to make a massive difference.
Has the top man on board and if confirming that form has a big chance with the 3yo weight allowance.
Martyn Meade on Advertise
“Three-year-olds do have a good record in this, but it is a tough ask, by far the toughest race of his career so far. He’s going into unknown territory, taking on the older horses.
“Some of the older ones can be in and out of form, but when they are on-song they take a bit of beating. It’s a big step we’ve got to take.
“On balance we’ve just got to throw him in and hope he puts his best foot forward. He’s won on the track last year (in the July Stakes); he’s come on since then, so I hope he can pull it off.
“He’s joint-highest rated with Dream Of Dreams – they look evenly matched – and there’s the (Aidan) O’Brien horses as well, although we held Ten Sovereigns at Ascot and beat So Perfect at the Curragh.
“It’s the July Cup, they’ve all got a chance, so we’ll just hope for the best. It’s about how you perform on the day.”
9. Ten Sovereigns – Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore (9-1)
Sent off favourite for the Commonwealth Cup but couldn’t lay a finger on Advertise, and clearly has plenty to find now.
That said, it was his first start over a sprint trip since last year so could be a little more alert this time.
Aidan O'Brien on Ten Sovereigns
“We were very happy with his run at Ascot. It was his first run back after running over a mile.
“He was a little bit rusty coming back sprinting. He travelled, though, and kept going very well. We thought he would come forward for the run.”
10. Fairyland – Aidan O’Brien/Seamie Heffernan (8-1)
Top trainer’s filly has been smashed for this and could be suited by the step up to 6f after running a big race in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot.
She gets weight from the rest and has a big part to play if everything drops right.
11. Pretty Pollyanna – Michael Bell/Oisin Murphy (14-1)
Very smart sprinter last year won the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes in fine style and has obvious claims back at this track.
Gets plenty of weight and has long looked as though the drop back to this trip will be the making of her.
Michael Bell on Pretty Pollyanna
“Probably her most impressive performance came at the July meeting in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes, which proves she is very effective on the track,” said Bell.
“I think she is in very good form and I’m expecting a very good run.”
12. So Perfect – Aidan O’Brien/Wayne Lordan (20-1)
Not been quite the success expected of her and finished a way behind Jersey Stakes winner Space Traveller last time.
However, connections retain the faith and she gets hefty lumps of weight.