Newmarket July Cup 2019 Preview
This weekend sees probably the highest quality sprint race in Britain with the Darley July Cup. The race is the highlight of the three day July Festival at Newmarket and often produces a high-class winner. In this blog I will go through some of the key trends of the race in the past decade to try and identify the profile of the winner and I will give my thoughts and feelings for this year’s renewal along with my tips.
Looking at the chart above the most revealing statistic is the record of three-year-olds in the race with five winners in the last decade. This is significant as they receive the weight for age allowance which can be a massive advantage and this has been utilised in the past two renewals. Aidan O’Brien and Clive Cox are dual winners in past years and their runner always warrant respect. Also winners have this race have gone on to stud which include Starspangledbanner, Dream Ahead, Mayson, Lethal Force, Slade Power, Muhaarar and Slade Power. This overwhelming suggests that the winner is likely to have a career as a stallion in future. Also from the betting angle favourites have a fair record in the race with four winning favourites in the past ten years. However outsiders such as Fleeting Spirit and Mayson have sprung surprises too, so outsiders aren’t to be overlooked.
The current favourite for this year’s race is Advertise who won the Group One, Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot for Martyn Meade. Meade’s colt previously had been tried over a mile in the 2,000 Guineas but he ultimately didn’t stay. As a classy two-year-old he won the July Stakes over six furlongs at the track so it felt like the natural step after his disappointing come back. Also connections gave him the blinkers and they seemed to have worked. After his Royal Ascot victory Martyn Meade revealed that the July Cup would be the most likely target. The other horse who features in this year’s line up from the Commonwealth Cup is Ten Sovereigns for Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien. He too like Advertise ran in the Guineas and ran respectably finishing in fifth place which looked like a good performance considering he wasn’t’ likely to stay on his breeding. Before the Commonwealth Cup he was a warm favourite but could only muster a fourth place finish. Watching the race back he seemed to travel nicely into contention but then it appeared he hit a flat spot before staying on again. I just wonder if Ascot wasn’t his track and this fits the profile on top sprinters such as Battash and Harry Angel who are Group One class but didn’t deliver their best at the course. Out of the two I am willing to forgive Ten Sovereigns and I think he could reverse the form and it could be a lot closer with Advertise this time.
Elsewhere looking at older horses, Dream of Dreams for Sir Michael Stoute is the second favourite for the race and was a strong finisher in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. He is the typical profile for his maestro trainer who develops horses with age and they appear to get better and better. However the trainer has not won this race since 1987 and is not renowned for sprinters and I think he was flattered on his last start. Cape Byron is also prominent in the betting for Roger Varian and can boast Royal Ascot form with his win in the Wokingham Handicap. In my opinion I am not always keen on handicap form coming into Group level as the class jump can be significant and I will be swerving him. Brando and Limato are getting on in their racing careers both being seven-years-old. Both horses come of the back of recent wins with Brando winning at Hamilton and Limato winning over the course and distance. They have strong records in the race and have either won or placed in recent years so they could definitely force their way into the places.
In this year’s line-up there are three fillies who get the age and fillies allowance with Pretty Pollyanna, So Perfect and Fairyland. The pick for me would be Pretty Pollyanna for Michael Bell who won a Group One in France last season but arguably she was at her most impressive winning at this festival last year winning by seven lengths in the Group Two, Duchess of Cambridge Stakes. She has been campaigned over a mile this season but dropping down in trip should suit on quick ground. She could prove to be dangerous and underestimated in the market.
When it comes to my shortlist in the race this year my main tip is Ten Sovereigns who I think can bounce back to form after a disappointing effort last time. Pretty Pollyanna also should fare well back down in trip and a course she should thrive at. I also think Limato could sneak a place who is a previous winner of the race and ran well over course and distance last time.
July Cup 2019 Prediction
1. Ten Sovereigns
2. Pretty Pollyanna
Ten Sovereign 10-1 EW (Ladbrokes)
Pretty Pollyanna 16-1 EW (William Hill)