We have a very busy weekend of action in store with pattern races at Ascot, Chester and York while Newmarket closes its July meeting on Saturday with the Group 1 July Cup.
The big one features just too many variables for us to have a bet, though Ten Sovereigns could come back to form and Glorious Journey is way over-priced each-way, but we start with Friday’s action and four quality bets across three premier tracks.
Friday 12th July
2.25 Newmarket (Duchess of Cambridge Stakes – Group 2) – DIVINE SPIRIT
An important juvenile fillies’ race, formerly known as the Cherry Hinton Stakes, and one in which it may pay to take a chance on a filly who didn’t enjoy herself at Royal Ascot in the shape of Godolphin’s Divine Spirit.
She made what for me was easily the best debut of these, and being by Kingman and trained by Charlie Appleby there’s no reason to think she won’t progress at the rate we expect of juveniles at this level and if she does, she can prove to be better at this six furlong trip than likely favourite Daahyeh.
Roger Varian’s runner won the Albany Stakes last time and so is a justifiable jolly on paper, but we know how good she is now and I feel she’s at a level that can be overtaken, as are Raffle Prize and Celtic Beauty.
3.15 York (Summer Stakes – Group 3) – ARCHER’S DREAM
At first glance this race looks like a complete basket case for a Group 3; hugely competitive with 17 improving fillies that are all capable of showing more than they have thus far.
Given the flat track and quick ground here, the race should really suit James Fanshawe’s unbeaten Dream Ahead filly Archer’s Dream though who looks the real deal and wasn’t suited by conditions last time, despite dead-heating for a win at Salisbury.
Again with the conditions in mind we should see a solid run from Perfection who rates second-best, while Shades Of Blue remains of interest and can run into a place.
3.25 Ascot (Class 3 Handicap) – AMERICAN GRAFFITI
Apart from the fact that he has won two in a row and is clearly improving, the interesting thing about American Graffiti is that he was also entered up overnight at Newmarket and Charlie Appleby could have easily kept him at home.
He instead comes here to a race which is eminently winnable for him. His success at HQ last time out was way easier than it looked and he could really be heading places, while Pontefract winner Hortzadar may appreciate this stiff test and both Breath Caught and Wafy are solid enough candidates too.
3.35 Newmarket (Falmouth Stakes – Group 1) – BESHAAYIR
A competitive Group 1 affair and one in which we may get some slightly false value. I Can Fly is decent but is probably priced-up based on her stable (Aidan O’Brien), while favourite One Master has had more chances than her younger rivals and could be slightly flattered by her Group 1 third last time.
Veracious continues to edge towards a top-level victory and Qabala can prove herself eventually having just been denied in the 1,000 Guineas, but there’s no arguing with the level of form Beshaayir has shown and she can keep getting better yet, especially given more of a test which she has here under Frankie.
Saturday 13th July
2.40 York (Silver Cup – Group 3) – WEEKENDER
It’s a big day at York and given the quality of the handicaps, this high-grade Group 3 race could almost go under the radar.
Some may not want quick ground so could perhaps be blunted somewhat, leaving the likes of Gold Mount, Raheen House and Sea The Lion all as genuine contenders but maybe not at their very best which could play into the hands of John Gosden and Rab Havlin.
Their Weekender has rock solid course and distance form and won ever so easily at Chelmsford last time. It’s clear he is getting better and is set fair for a career-best now, something that if it indeed arrives would make him too good for this field.
2.55 Newmarket (Superlative Stakes – Group 2) – KING’S COMMAND
A fascinating juvenile contest with precious little form on offer, but it’s not form in the book we tend to look at in these races as much as roar ability and potential.
Many at this stage look of very similar quality such as Year Of The Tiger, Juan Elcano, Mystery Power and Maxi Boy but the one that may just prove to be a class above is Charlie Appleby’s King’s Command.
Making his debut on the July course over six furlongs, he led from out wide with little cover before being headed two out, didn’t get a clear run and then ran on superbly to re-take the lead close home. He will have matured, will come on a ton and will love this extra furlong so rates a fairly confident bet.
4.00 Ascot (Summer Mile – Group 2) – WADILSAFA
Another of this weekend’s hugely competitive races, but while there are plenty in with chances on the book our horse looks like the one who hasn’t yet shown us his best form and can take his career up to the next level now.
Wadilsafa is a Frankel colt who has always been held in high regard and who crept through the ranks to eventually take a Listed race in great style last season. He’s gone on again since then and was second on unsuitable soft ground last time at York and is now ready to put in his best work, hoping to prove he can be a Group 1 performer.
Matterhorn has serious ability and can do some damage, Beat The Bank has an obvious chance but is penalised, Accidental Agent is a Group 1 performer, Zaaki is two from two this year and Tip Two Win may yet win another race at this sort of level showing how competitive an affair this is, but at around 12/1 our horse is good enough value to be backed to smallish stakes.