AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR HORSE RACING PREVIEW: July Festival 2023 | Day One

We’re right in the thick of the flat season, with fans enjoying a tremendous duel between Paddington and Emily Upjohn in the Coral-Eclipse last weekend and the July Festival beginning on Thursday, whilst there’s also the Grand Prix de Paris on Friday and ‘Super Saturday’, featuring the July Cup at Newmarket and quality action from Ascot and York.

The 2023 Boodles July Festival, Day 1
Newmarket July Course
Live on ITV 1HD & ITV Hub from 1.30pm
Live on Racing TV from 1.30pm

Without further ado, let’s get stuck into day 1 of the July Festival, with a ground update below.

Ground: At the moment the ground is good to firm, good in places according to Newmarket’s own website. That follows 14mm of rain over the last week and then a further 1.5mm of rain on Tuesday.

Much debate has taken place about the amount of watering over the past two days – there was 12mm applied yesterday and as this preview is being written (7.30pm on Wednesday) it cannot be confirmed how much has been applied today. Much will depend on just how bad the isolated thunderstorms (set to hit at 8pm tonight) are, along with the potential for rain through the card (37-39% chance according to Google).

GoingStick: 7.6 on 12-07-2023 at 12:00 (Stand Side 7.5; Centre 7.7: Far Side 7.5)

The Bahrain Trophy Stakes (1.50) kicks off the card and whilst a win from any of the top four in the betting wouldn’t surprise, at the prices Saint George makes the most appeal. His second in the Queen’s Vase Stakes at Royal Ascot sets the standard here and whilst this is a less stiff test dropping back a furlong, it’s not expected to be an issue.

His second to Gregory at Ascot reads very well (Gregory beat Klondike at Goodwood, albeit on Klondike’s second start) and using His Majesty the King’s Circle of Fire (second to other major contender Castle Way in the Newmarket Stakes, and further behind Saint George at Ascot, albeit over further) as a guide, he sets a decent standard.

Ballydoyle’s Tower of London was an impressive winner of the Ulster Derby in a smart time and could be called the biggest threat here if one assumes there’s more improvement to come now he’s hit middle distances. Land Legend was unlucky in the King George Handicap and can outrun his price.

There’s any amount of questions over the July Stakes (2.25) but one can’t help giving Chief Mankato a shout. He got upset in the stalls at Royal Ascot (went off 11-1 after late support) but on the basis of his debut at Windsor (only horse to come from off the pace in first four), when he managed to collar Windsor Castle third Inquisitively and next time out winner Sky Wizard in good style, he looks useful at least and it would be no surprise if he went very well here.

Purosangue was most impressive at Haydock but the form of that has been let down twice since, and whilst Malc a great race at Royal Ascot in the Norfolk (Thunder Blue fifth) the performances of His Majesty (fourth) and Devious (sixth) in the Railway next time suggest that the Coventry is the better race of the two and he may be a watching brief.

Lake Forest was visually impressive at Haydock and was high on the shortlist whilst all Ballydoyle juveniles have to be respected so Mountain Bear must be considered a contender despite improvement being needed on his Curragh win.

The first handicap of the week (3.00) is one of the most competitive events of the entire season and winning it will take a huge effort, but Desert Cop has produced three of them this season and can give backers a big run for their money here. He was sixth in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot and before that, he’d finished runner up to Commonwealth Cup winner Shaquille at Newbury.

Back in April he sprang a small surprise when getting the better of Shouldvebeenaring, who has since gone onto land a listed contest on the Rowley Mile, before a runner-up finish behind Little Big Bear and a fifth placing in the Prix Jean Prat. Whilst he runs off 105, he has the best form in the field – and it’s not really close – so he can run a big race at the least if things drop his way.

The Princess of Wales’s Stakes (3.35) has a small but select field, with Adayar strongly favoured to pick up quick compensation for his third place in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. The odds look about right for him to beat Israr – who’s still unexposed at this level – whilst Global Storm and Grand Alliance need more on the figures – and it’s not a race of great betting interest.

The Fillies’ Maiden (4.10) looks one for the notebook whilst the Sir Henry Cecil Stakes (4.45) is a cracking heat, with the unbeaten pairing of Imperial Emperor and Embesto facing last year’s Dewhurst third Nostrum, Mostabshir (ran in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot), and Britannia second New Endeavour (outsider Wildfell has won four in a row for his new stable but is rated 73).

Nostrum would be the pick if he’s at his best – although he’s had a setback in the spring, which would make this race a watching brief – but a win from any one of the leading five wouldn’t surprise.

In the closing handicap (5.20) the 3yos are seen as most likely to provide the winner but all have questions to answer here and it doesn’t make much appeal.

BACK Saint George 1 pt win in 1.50 Newmarket at 5/2 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Chief Mankato 1 pt win in 2.25 Newmarket at 5/1 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Desert Cop 1 pt each/way in 3.00 Newmarket at 9/1 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

PROFIT/LOSS (JULY 2022): LOSS -16.88 points



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