July's Summer Feast of Racing
It's a case of seconds out and round two as the first three home in last month's Prince of Wales's Stakes meet again in the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on July 6. The mile and a quarter contest signals the start of July's feast of top-class Flat racing, and is famous for the traditional clash between the older and younger generations, with the latter age group receiving a hefty 10lb weight for allowance yet despite this traditional advantage, honours are even between the generations.
This time around the Classic class of 2013 seems likely to be thin on the ground and the Coral Eclipse should be won by an older horse. At Royal Ascot, Al Kazeem got up close home to grab Mukhadram by the slimmest of margins with The Fugue looking ring-rusty on her belated return as she motored home into third after getting outpaced. It promises to be another thriller played out on the Esher slopes and as things stand, Al Kazeem looks a worthy favourite.
On the same day as the Coral Eclipse, Haydock hosts the Lancashire Oaks and this mile and a half contest might well be a target for Banoffee, who proved a huge disappointment when she finished down the field in last month's Oaks but who showed when successful at Chester previously that she possesses the talent to land this Group 2 contest.
In the Old Newton Cup at Haydock on the same day, backers should look out for any runners from Luca Cumani's yard. The stable's Franciscan, a winner at York last season, bounced back to form at Carlisle the other day and could be the ideal type for this good handicap prize. He has dropped temptingly in the weights.
Newmarket's three-day July meeting takes pride of place in the middle of the month and the opening day of July 11 should see a good field assembled for the Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes. Lady Cecil's smart filly Wild Coco is pencilled in for her seasonal bow in this valuable heat while the luckless Ektihaam could make a bold bid for glory after slipping up on a greasy bend in Royal Ascot's Hardwicke Stakes. Roger Varian's charge had thrashed the ill-fated Hardwicke winner Thomas Chippendale over course and distance previously and I strongly suspect that Ektihaam would have beaten that horse again at Royal Ascot.
On July 12 the fillies take pride of place in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes, and once again a clash of the generations could well be on the cards as last year's one-two, Giofra and Elusive Kate, are faced with a formidable Classic challenge headed by Coronation Stakes heroine Sky Lantern. If the latter turns up at Newmarket in her bid for a fourth career Group 1 success, then backers need look no further for the winner.
The final day of the July meeting takes place on Saturday July 13 and the Group1 July Cup will be the day's highlight, and given the lack of serious or outstanding talent among the sprinters it may well be a case of whose turn is it to win this time around as the principals from Royal Ascot's King's Stand and Diamond Jubilee Stakes do battle on the July course's hallowed turf. James Fanshawe's Society Rock conceded valuable ground when going sideways before moving forwards in the Diamond Jubilee and he might be the one to benefit at Newmarket.
York's John Smith's Cup on the same day remains easily the season's best mile and a quarter handicap, and the battle for the beer money will be as competitive as ever. Newmarket trainer Sir Michael Stoute might put punters in clover with Rye House, a course and distance winner from the Dante meeting, who should stand a cracking chance of lifting this valuable pot.
The Irish Oaks takes place at the Curragh on July 21 and could see a re-match between Talent and Secret Gesture, and this valuable prize would be duly enhanced should Riposte line up in Ireland. An easy winner of Royal Ascot's Ribblesdale Stakes, she is a fast-improver for Lady Cecil in a weak division.
July's high-class action reaches a climax with the splendid King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, Britain's premier all-aged middle-distance event that takes place on July 27. If there is some give in the ground the still improving German colt, Novellist, should take plenty of beating. He was an easy winner of an above-average Grand Prix Saint-Cloud last time and looks the right type for this Group 1 race.
Finally, the first two days of Glorious Goodwood creeps into the calendar for July with the Lennox Stakes and Molecomb Stakes hosted on July 30 followed by the Group 1 Sussex Stakes on July 31. Dawn Approach would look like a strong fancy for the latter race after his last-gasp defeat of Toronado at Royal Ascot last month but he is more likely to run at Deauville and his absence from Glorious Goodwood would be a major blow for that meeting.
Malcolm Heyhoe writes weekly horse racing articles for GG.COM-Horse racing betting, information, news, results and free daily tips
Archive June 2013
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