Newmarket’s popular July meeting gets underway on Thursday and we have tips for the four races covered on ITV from headquarters, three Group races and a Heritage Handicap, together with a 6f sprint handicap from Carlisle.
“Tip of the Day” - Persian Force (2.25pm Newmarket) - 7/4 with Coral
Despite losing his unbeaten record when finding Bradsell too good in an excellent Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, Richard Hannon’s highly-regarded juvenile can get back to winning ways at the main expense of Ballydoyle’s Windsor Castle Stakes victor Little Big Bear.
1.50pm Newmarket. 1m 5f
Masekela’s fourth place behind Desert Crown in the Cazoo Derby sets a clear standard for this St Leger trial. Godolphin’s Walk Of Stars brought up the rear in the Epsom Classic after failing to handle the course and it would be no surprise should William Buick’s mount reverse the placings here.
This is far from a two-horse race however. Zachariah took the scalp of Irish Derby winner Westover as a juvenile and went down by the narrowest of margins when stepped-up in trip for the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot last month.
Also runner-up at the royal meeting, albeit in the 19-runner King George V Stakes (Heritage Handicap), was the James Ferguson-trained DEAUVILLE LEGEND. That was just the fourth career start for the son of Sea The Stars who really appreciated the step-up to a mile and a half. Daniel Muscutt’s mount should do even better over this 1m 5f trip and could surprise one or two better fancied rivals.
2.25pm Newmarket. 6f
Royal Ascot juvenile form is put to the test in this Group 2 July Stakes, headed by Ballydoyle’s Windsor Castle Stakes winner Little Big Bear and Coventry Stakes runner-up PERSIAN FORCE (Nap). Aidan O’Brien’s charge did well to win from his low draw. But despite finding Bradsell a length and a half too good on the opening day of the meeting, the Richard Hannon-trained son of Mehmas competed in what was probably the best two-year-race of the season so far.
Rossa Ryan’s mount had previously recorded impressive victories at Doncaster and Newbury and is expected to come out on top against the main Irish challenger, with unlucky Norfolk fourth Brave Nation looking best of the rest.
2.45pm Carlisle. 6f
In a sprint handicap consisting mainly of exposed runners, the William Haggas-trained RAZEYNA (Nb) could well prove a class apart from her 12 rivals off an opening handicap mark of 82.
Unraced as a juvenile, the daughter of Kodiac got off the mark at the first time of asking when winning a Newbury three-year-old maiden back in April. There have been genuine excuses for the filly’s two subsequent defeats (slowly away at Newcastle - failing to handle the course at Chester) and it would be no surprise to see Stevie Donohoe’s mount competing in much better company than this come the end of the season.
3.00pm Newmarket. 6f
As you would expect from a 19-runner three-year-old sprint handicap at headquarters, a wide-open affair in which most of the runners can be given some kind of a chance. The lightly-raced pair of Khanjar and Deodar are open to plenty more improvement, while the likes of Twelfth Knight, Azure Blue, Anadora and Ingra Tor are all capable of making the frame at the very least.
This race is expected to highlight any significant draw advantage and should high numbers prove best, top weight HIERARCHY (Longshot) makes plenty of each-way appeal from stall 18, especially with several bookmakers going six places.
Hugo Palmer’s son of Mehmas, placed in two Group races as a juvenile along with an opening second in a Group 3 at Ascot with Commonwealth Cup sixth Ehraz one place behind, was one of those drawn on the wrong side in that 6f Group 1 at the royal meeting and could well defy his big weight at a double-figure price.
3.35pm Newmarket. 1m 4f
On his best form of last season which included a victory in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, Godolphin’s Yabir would take plenty of beating in this mile and a half Group 2 contest. The Dubawi gelding has been beaten on his last three starts however, the two most recent as a short priced favourite.
The John & Thady Gosden-trained Mostahdaf looks to be the obvious danger following his second to Bay Bridge in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes and again when runner-up to Broome in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot. But it is possible to pick holes in the value of both of those races and at a big price it could be worth taking a chance on Godolphin’s second-string GLOBAL STORM.
James Doyle’s mount may be regarded as just a high-class handicapper. But the Night Of Thunder gelding is much more than that, having produced some of his best efforts this year, including when third behind subsequent Coronation Cup winner Hukum in a Group 2 race at Meydan.
The five-year-old is the lowest rated of the six runners. But unlike most of his rivals, is almost guaranteed to run his race and is capable of causing a minor shock.
* Odds correct at the time of writing. Subject to changes.