What are the best bets in the July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday?
This looks a cracking renewal and a wide open one to boot – most bookies are going 11/2 the field. All the more incentive then to find the winner and the first place to start is the ground/weather. They were calling it ‘good to firm’ on Friday with showers forecast for Saturday morning, so I’m going to assume that the ground will be riding on the fast side of good, though it’s hardly an exact science.
In which case, I’m going to put a hesitant line through Diamond Jubilee winner Twilight Son and Commonwealth Cup heroine Quiet Reflection, both of whom wouldn’t want it quick. The latter is also taking on older horses for the first time, though the age allowance helps a lot in that respect and her potent turn of foot is a serious weapon in any company.
Twilight Son’s stablemate Limato is one who might mind the fast ground and he should be more comfortable over this trip having found a mile beyond him in the Lockinge Stakes last time. That said, arguably his best performances have come over 7f in winning the Group 2 Park Stakes at Doncaster last September and then making up an enormous amount of ground in his Group 1 defeat at Longchamp on Arc day. He’s not for me and nor is King’s Stand winner Profitable, who looks all over a five-furlong horse and has his stamina to prove.
There are no such concerns over MAGICAL MEMORY – he seems pretty versatile in terms of ground and furthermore this is best trip – and he appeals most of those at the head of the market. Charlie Hills’ four-year-old has not stopped improving since landing a 6f handicap at this meeting 12 months ago, going on to land a gamble in the Stewards’ Cup and then running a blinder to be beaten less than a length by Twilight Son in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup.
A lot of sprinters get better with age and this fellow is no exception as, having made a winning return at the Craven meeting here in April, he has produced personal bests in landing a Group 2 at York and then finishing just half a length adrift in fourth behind Twilight Son in the Golden Jubilee. That run can be upgraded too as he had to come from further back than the three that beat him and it paid to be closer to the pace on the soft ground. Another personal best is needed here and Hills provided plenty of encouragement for that when he said this week the horse had “not missed a beat” since the Ascot race and that he was “slightly more confident” about his chances here than he was about Muhaarar, who won last year’s renewal on his way to becoming champion sprinter. That clinches the bet for me.
You can make a case for a fair few of those at double-figure odds, including Magical Memory’s stablemate Cotai Glory, who needs fast ground, and Aidan O’Brien’s Air Force Blue, who is stepping back in trip after coming up well short in a couple of Group 1s over a mile. But the best value outsider looks to be Kevin Ryan’s GOKEN, who was a fast-finishing third in the King’s Stand after not getting the clearest of runs and may get his revenge on the winner Profitable over this extra furlong. At 33/1 with bet365, he’s worth a small each-way wager.