The three day Newmarket July meeting is upon us and from Wednesday through Friday, East England’s answer to Royal Ascot will take place in its usual more intimate setting but with almost as much hoopla.  There are two Group 1 races to be run and we will look at both as well as the Group 2 Princess of Wales Stakes.

As usual in these summer months (and despite the recent rains up north) the going is expected to be on the fast side of good and as always at Headquarters with its stiff uphill finish, ability to see out the trip thoroughly will be of paramount importance.  Although Newmarket is a galloping track overall, the descent into the famous “dip” can unbalance some and that must always be kept in mind.  Trainers to watch include John Dunlop and Roger Charlton whilst leading trainer at the meeting Richard Hannon will have his winners (all but one of his 14 winners at this meeting have been two-year-olds) but also his multiplicity of runners.  Like at Epsom, nobody rides Newmarket better than Keiren Fallon, and his return to this meeting after 5 years in the wilderness could prove to be a triumphant one.


THE FALMOUTH STAKES (Group 1; 3yo+ f&m; 1 mile; 3:10 p.m. GMT)

This is likely to be a cracking renewal of the clash of generations among the girls with the older generation well represented by Windsor Forest first and second Strawberrydaiquiri and Spacious while the three year olds will be headed by Lillie Langtry, Special Duty and Music Show.

Lillie Langtry will be all the rage after her impressive Coronation Stakes win but, although beaten 3 3/4l there, MUSIC SHOW was badly victimized by the draw on that round course and, on this more testing Newmarket straight, she can turn the tables.  It’s also worth noting that Lillie Langtry has more than once hinted that a step up to 10f is now in order and that she might not take too much racing on a quick surface.  I’m a bit surprised that Special Duty shows up here after her exertions at Newmarket and Longchamp in the space of 14 days (incredibly fortunate to win two classics in the stewards’ room despite not suffering any great interference in either) and, like the French at the world cup, it would only be poetic justice should she fail to win here.  Both Lillie Langtry and MUSIC SHOW (also victimized by the draw at Newmarket in the Guineas) look to have improved past her anyway.

The older pair of Strawberrydaiquiri and Spacious are very interesting entries here both progressive older types with Strawberrydaiquiri especially looking to have found her perfect trip having improved markedly for the drop back to a mile in the Windsor Forest while Spacious, not for the first time, looked to want a step up to 10f in that same race.   For all that she has repeatedly run well there, Spacious has 0 wins in 6 attempts at Newmarket. There’s very little to choose between Strawberrydaiquiri and MUSIC SHOW but the former had a very hard race at Royal Ascot and the latter, who deserves a change of luck, will be suited by the likely strong early gallop and is narrowly preferred.


Good bets on the Wednesday card include Wednesday’s best value bet (NAP) TAKE TEN (Class 2 Heritage Handicap; 6f; 2:00 p.m. GMT) who has fallen to a ludicrously low mark and was a head second to Society Rock (a leading fancy for this year’s July Cup) over course and distance last year; MEMORY (WEDNESDAY’S BANKER BET) to give Richard Hannon another two-year old win in the Group 2 Cherry Hinton (2:35); and NATIONALISM (4:20) to break his duck the second time of asking after a narrow loss on debut though running green.


The Princess of Wales Stakes (Group 2; 1m4f; 3yo+; 3:10 p.m. GMT)

Only one three year old among the entries (Corsica) and he’s unlikely to report what with both the Bahrain Trophy and the St Leger in his sights so the usual suspects mix it up again with Sir Michael Stoute holding a strong hand with Glass Harmonium and Spanish Moon. Glass Harmonium has been begging for this step up to a mile and a half but Spanish Moon is the choice of Ryan Moore so it’s not exactly clear who it’ll be from that camp but it could pay to oppose both as Glass Harmonium has repeatedly given the impression that he is unsuited by fast ground (or it could be that he wanted a stiffer test in those conditions) whilst Spanish Moon isn’t guaranteed to stay the trip thoroughly – a necessity at Newmarket.  From such a high powered stable, both are likely to be over bet so it’s time to give both a swerve.  The two to concentrate on could well be Sans Frontieres and REDWOOD separated by 3/4l when 4th and 5th behind Harbinger in the Group 2 Hardwicke at Royal Ascot.  The latter, still unexposed after only 6 career starts and proven on fast ground, is preferred.


Elsewhere on Thursday’s card, Ransom Note, who will be all the rage in the Heritage Handicap over 10f (2:35) is the LAY OF THE MEETING now 24 lbs higher than when winning at Donny on reappearance and hiked 9lbs for a narrow win in the Royal Hunt Cup when favoured by the draw bias that day.  Sir Michael Stoute’s Treble Jig will love this galloping course and take all the beating but, if he gets into the race LAYLA’S DANCER (NAP OF THE MEETING) is a blot on the handicaps now returned to a stamina test he should enjoy.  If he doesn’t get in, Treble Jig is the back-up bet and will be upgraded to the day’s NAP.

CAPTAIN CAREY (THURSDAY’S BANKER BET) is a sprinter to follow in the Warehouse Solutions Handicap (4:55).


The July Cup (Group 1; 3yo+; 6f; 3:10 p.m. GMT)

The Golden Jubilee Stakes seems to hold the key to this feature whose competitive appearance is exposed by that Royal Ascot sprint to be an illusion.  STARSPANGLEDBANNER (BANKER BET OF THE MEETING) was a revelation in that race showing the kind of speed few British horses can match and should have much too much speed for Fleeting Spirit or Showcasing, the main dangers.  Both Main Aim (prefers cut in the ground and Kingsgate Native (best at 5f) must be opposed and punters who insist on opposing the favourite could consider an each way flutter on Society Rock who wasn’t favoured by how the race unfolded at Ascot despite finding plenty of improvement there (but only if Take Ten has won earlier in the week).


Ante post tip: In the Blue Square Stewards Cup (July 31), JONNY MUDBALL, an impressive winner encountering fast ground at Windsor on last, is a cracking each way ante-post flutter currently at double digit odds.

Good Luck!


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