Newmarket is set for the July Festival
Newmarket is set for the July Festival Image Credit: Newmarket Racecourse Twitter

Dubai: The eyes of the racing world will be on Newmarket Racecourse in the UK from Thursday, as it hosts the prestigious three-day July Cup Festival which culminates in Saturday’s Group 1 Darley July Cup, one of the hottest sprint races of the season.
The racing at the historic July Course boasts world-class action which will feature a generous mix of high fashion and entertainment.
Established in 1876, the Darley July Cup is one of the most valuable and prestigious sprint races in the world and the winner is often acknowledged to be the best sprinter in Europe.
Here are five horses to look out for during the meeting:

Al Aasy

Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (Group 2) 2,400m

Al Aasy was only beaten a neck by Pyledriver in a hot renewal of the Coronation Cup at Epsom on Derby Day, a race that could have gone his way had he not gone wide when under pressure in the final two furlongs. Trainer William Haggas has his eyes on the big prize later this month, the £400,000 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, but opts to keep his smart colt on the boil by giving him a run at Newmarket this week.
Mark Johnston’s Sir Ron Priestley, the Jockey Club Stakes scorer together with Sir Michael Stoute’s much-regarded Highest Ground appear the main dangers.

Live Your Dream, right
Live Your Dream, right Image Credit: Courtesy Godolphin

Live Your Dream

Bet365 Trophy (Heritage Handicap) 2,800m

Live Your Dream looks a progressive type having won three of his four most recent starts on all-weather surfaces in the UK. The son of Iffraj is bred to stay and with champion jockey Oisin Murphy taking the ride for Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Surour, he looks to have genuine claims of winning this, if not finishing among the top three. A consistent performer he is worth keeping an eye on in what looks a wide-open race.

Ebro River

Tattersalls July Stakes (Group 2) 1,200m

James Doyle gets the leg up on this smart performer who looks to have a good turn of foot which he exhibited when comfortably landing a Listed race at Sandown in May. This is a step up in class but trainer Hugo Palmer is confident that the two-year-old son of Galileo Gold has what it takes to make a mark in Pattern race company at the second time of asking. On his last start in the Group 2 Coventry at Royal Ascot Ebro River appeared to be making good headway inside the final two furlongs but could not find more and had to settle for fifth behind some smart horses, He deserves another chance at this level and this looks the perfect race to set the record straight.


Bet365 Mile Handicap 1,600m

Roger Varian appears to be in no hurry with his unbeaten son of Dubawi who makes his third career start in a decent-looking handicap over a mile.
Bashosh may have had to work hard to win at Doncaster last time out but showed plenty of courage and a willingness to learn.
Varian will be looking to find out more about Bashosh’s abilities at Newmarket and is sure to find out plenty given the depth of the field lining up.

Creative Force wins at Newmarket in 2020.
Creative Force wins at Newmarket in 2020 Image Credit: Courtesy Godolphin

Creative Force

Darley July Cup Stakes (Group 1) 1,200m

Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby has his string in top order, a fact driven home by his extraordinary Epsom and Irish Derby double with Adayar and Hurricane Lande. The trainer, who was originally looking to keep his exciting Jersey Stakes winner at seven furlongs, makes a surprise decision to run him over the shorter six-furlong trip and against some top-class sprinter. It is evident that Appleby fears nothing and is willing to roll the dice with a horse that is unbeaten in his last four starts but none at Group 1 level. The son of Dubawi stays well but appears to have the gears required to turn it on at Newmarket’s July course.
However, he will need to be at his very best to take on top speedballs like last year’s hero Oxted and Starman, who has lost just once in four eye-catching outings.

July Cup Festival
When: July 8-10
Where: Newmarket Racecourse
TV: Dubai Racing Channel