Saturday marks the final day of Newmarket’s July Festival, with the feature contest being the July Cup. A six-furlong sprint, it has attracted a superlative 19-strong field including Oxted, Starman and Rohaan. York and Ascot also host action, with the Group 2 Summer Mile headlining the latter card.
We’ll have horse racing tips for all the action on ITV Racing, but I’m hoping to end a brilliant week of action on a high. I’ve found three outsiders who look set to out-run their prohibitive odds and you can find all my selections and analysis below.
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Ascot sprints are a personal favourite of mine to pick apart and COUNT D’ORSAY (20-1) looks set to come to the boil for Tim Easterby. He’s winless thus far in a busy 2021 campaign, but his three recent efforts have really caught the eye.
He’s been hampered or short of room in all of them, running on well late despite nightmare trips. He would have perhaps landed Listed honours at Haydock three starts ago if the gaps had opened for him and he was far from disgraced in the Group 3 Charge at Sandown seven days ago.
Currently racing off a mark of 100, I’d suggest he’s near handicapping ceiling at present. He’s run well in several handicap starts this term off similar marks, however, and this race is his perfect scenario. A horse with a high cruising speed, slow starts have cost him of late, as he’s been forced to race in rear. With a smoother start, he’ll be staying on best of all in the closing stages and with five places on offer, I think xx-1 is a generous price.
The Bunbury Cup features a maximum field of 20 and this seven-furlong heat is quite the puzzle. One of my old favourites, Revich, goes again for Richard Spencer, but at the prices, I like CLIFFS OF CAPRI (33-1). He’s now a seven-year-old, but two runs in 2021 suggest he hasn’t lost any of his spark.
He thrives in these big-field events over seven furlongs, going close in last year’s Buckingham Palace at Royal Ascot off a mark of 96. Running over the mile in two starts this term has perhaps blunted his finishing effort and I’m happy to see him back over seven furlongs.
He’s at his best when he has a strong gallop to chase and it goes without saying that this field won’t be hanging around. He races off 95 today, which is an achievable rating, and he has his ideal firmer ground. He ran well on his sole Newmarket start last June and at xx-1, I think he’s grossly underestimated.
As always, the July Cup is devilishly competitive. A nineteen-strong field head to post and at a monster price, I fancy MISS AMULET (50-1) to spring the upset for Ken Condon. She was a superb juvenile for connections, winning the Group 2 Lowther at York last August.
She was stepped into Group 1 company for her final juvenile two starts and she went agonizingly close on both occasions, finishing second in the Cheveley Park and third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
That represents really strong form and her reappearance at the Curragh is best forgiven. Heavy ground over the mile didn’t suit, and although six furlongs is probably the minimum trip she’d want, this race will pan out perfectly for her.
She doesn’t lack tactical speed and if they go a blistering gallop, as expected, she’ll be a beneficiary. Her extra stamina will come in handy as they enter the final furlongs and as others are tiring, she’ll be hitting top gear from a handy position. At xx-1, I think she’s a strong each-way play back on a sounder surface.
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