Muhaarar backed for the July Cup
2.00 Bet365 Mile (1m)
The pair who stand out on recent form are Oracolo and Western Reserve, but with the track seeming to favour those up with the pace, the former is preferred. Lady Cecil’s charge proved himself as good on turf as AW when chasing home Awesome Power at Sandown last month, and it should pay to forgive the winner a poor run here on Thursday behind Resonant. Western Reserve looks set to dominate again, and while Oracolo will be a huge threat if able to get himself into close contention by the dip, he may find that the bird has flown.
Selection: Western Reserve
2.35 Bet365 Superlative Stakes (7f)
War Department trailed the tails, to coin a phrase, in the Coventry Stakes last time, but that run is best excused as he stumbled badly after meeting interference, and was allowed to coast home afterwards. He’s much better judged on an impressive debut success at Leicester, and may be overpriced here – it’s worth noting that he was heavily backed at the Royal Meeting, and he’s preferred to Coventry fourth Beaverbrook on balance.
Selection: War Department
3.10 bet365 Bunbury Cup (7f)
Firmdecisions has a good record on the Bunbury Course, and it’s worth taking the chance that he will prove equally adept across the Devil’s Dyke, where his forward-going nature ought to be an advantage. He defied a 9 lb rise to land a 7f handicap here in May, and posted a pretty smart time figure in the process. He’s been raised again in the weights, but that move is fully justified, and he’s one of only a couple of confirmed pacesetters in the field.
3.45 Darley July Cup (6f)
Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum holds a strong hand with both Muthmir and Muhaarar here, and with the former not certain to appreciate the step up to six furlongs here, the vote goes to Muhaarar, who backed up his Greenham Stakes win at Royal Ascot, where he took the inaugural Commonwealth Cup in scintillating style. Seemingly unsuited by the step up to a mile in the French 2000 Guineas in between those victories, he can prove himself the master of his elders and becoming the fifth three-year-old to win this contest since the turn of the Millennium.
4.20 Rossdales EBF Stallions Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (7f)
A straightforward opportunity for Chesham Stakes runner-up Ballydoyle to shed her maiden tag back at a less competitive level. It’s possible that there will be a degree of talent among the newcomers, but experience counts for plenty in such events, and Aidan O’Brien’s filly should have too much in her armoury.
4.55 Spa At Bedford Lodge Hotel Nursery Handicap (7f)
Plenty of unexposed sorts to consider, with recent Wolverhampton winner Majdool much respected, but it may pay to forgive Aleko a poor run at Epsom in the Woodcote Stakes when he failed to handle the occasion and/or the track. He’s previously made a big impression when winning on debut at Haydock, and should resume his progress now. The experience he gained at Epsom should stand him in good stead despite the adverse result there, and he has plenty of scope to do better, as an entry in the National Stakes at the Curragh suggests.
5.30 Longines Irish Champions Weekend Handicap (1½m)
First Sitting hasn’t taken long to make a big impact for David O’Meara, and he was beaten only a whisker when bidding to follow up his Hamilton success at York last time, where he would have overhauled Correggio in another stride. That form is solid, and he seems to have been found a pretty weak race by Newmarket’s standards in which to make amends.
Selection: First Sitting