Trainer John Best this morning reported dual Group One winner Kingsgate Native on target for the £400,000 Darley July Cup on Friday, July 11, the final day of the 2008 Ritz Cup July Festival at Newmarket.
The Mujadil colt won last season’s Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York as a two-year-old and went on to land the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last month under Seb Sanders, who the trainer added is “99 per cent likely” to be aboard in the Group One at Newmarket.
“Kingsgate Native has come out of Ascot fine - no problems at all. I’ve been absolutely happy with him the whole way through. The plan is still to go to the Darley July Cup. I’ve not had a day off with him and he seems absolutely 100 per cent,” reported Best.
“He came out of the race well. I always give him a little bit of time off immediately after a race. He had his little break, is back now and is in good form.
“I was delighted with him at Ascot. Whereas everything went wrong for us (when an unlucky 10th) in the King’s Stand Stakes, everything that could go right for us went right for us in the Golden Jubilee. He had Takeover Target to give him a lead, he was drawn on the right side and everything was perfect.
“Maybe for some of the other leading fancies things weren’t quite so good, same as what happened to me on the Tuesday.
“I just hope everything falls into place at Newmarket. There’s obviously some very special horses in there and maybe the draw bias won’t be the same in the Darley July Cup as it was at Ascot.
“I’m 99 per cent sure it will be Seb (Sanders) on top.”
Meanwhile, owner Willie McKay is looking forward to seeing 2006 Darley July Cup winner Les Arcs back in action and he reported that the eight-year-old will have his first run for over a year at Haydock on Saturday before lining up at Newmarket on July 11.
Les Arcs, a winner of 12 races in total including two at the highest level, has only raced twice since winning the six-furlong sprint in 2006, having suffered injury problems.
“The Darley July Cup is still the plan for Les Arcs. He did a piece of work on Wednesday and it went well,” explained McKay.
“York racecourse allowed us to give him a piece of work during races a few weeks ago and Doncaster racecourse have allowed us to give him a gallop as well. We were going to run him at Newcastle in the Chipchase Stakes but we by-passed it because of the ground.
“We’re running him at Haydock on Saturday (in a six-furlong conditions race) and then he’ll run the following Friday in the Darley July Cup.
“Darren Williams will ride the horse on Saturday because John Egan is in America at the moment but he’ll be back to ride him at Newmarket.
“Les Arcs is actually moving better now than he was after he won the Darley July Cup in 2006. A top young Irish vet, Peter Hynes, is employed at our Martin Grange Stables and he’s been looking after things. We also bought a spa which he’s been in twice a day and it has helped him.”
The Darley July Cup, the centrepiece of the three-day Ritz Club July Festival, is the most valuable sprint in the European racing calendar, with the 2008 running worth a record £400,000. For the first time, the Darley July Cup also becomes part of the Global Sprint Challenge.
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