The caravan of top-class racing rolled into Newmarket for the July Festival last week and on Saturday it was “Super Saturday”. That day in the racing calendar when the action comes so thick and fast that you barely have to time to take a breather.
You can find my thoughts on Saturday’s action, including a couple of horses for the tracker and Monday’s tip inside.
Bookies Taken For More Than Ten Sovereigns
Ten Sovereigns, was one of the best backed horses of July Festival and he didn’t let his backers down. Putting in an impressive performance to win this years July Cup.
On paper it looked a wide-open renewal and the recent retirement of Blue Point meant the sprint crown was up for grabs.
From the start, the field divided into two groups. Glorious Journey broke quickly to lead the group on the stands side. Meanwhile on the far side Ten Sovereigns was up the with pace. At halfway it seemed like the stands side group were ahead. But that all soon changed. As the runners approached the final furlong, it became clear that the larger far side group held sway. As his rivals came to challenge, Ten Sovereigns fought them off, before skipping away for a decisive win.
He finished 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Advertise who had no answer to his powerful finish. The winner’s stablemate Fairyland ran on nicely into third but in all truth, they were no match for the winner.
For the first time this season the colt reproduced his high-class, two-year-old form. He didn’t stay the mile in the 2,000 Guineas and although he was a shade disappointing at Ascot, there was enough promise in his performance in the Commonwealth Cup to make him a contender here.
The return to quick ground suited the colt. As did the change in running style. As he clearly enjoyed the forward ride he got on Saturday
Johnston Lands Bunbury
The big betting race of the July Festival is arguably the Bunbury Cup. This years race went the way of the punters with Vale Of Kent, landing a bit of a touch, to give trainer Mark Johnston a second win in the race.
Frankie Dettori got the gelding into a good rhythm out in front on the far side. He was briefly headed two out, by Admiralty but battled back, to take the lead once more and wasn't to be denied.
The favourite Solar Gold led the group down the middle and stayed on to get within ½ length of the winner. Admiralty managed to hold on for third, just ahead of the consistent Spanish City.
Bunbury Cup Eyecatcher
Not many of the hold up horses managed to get into the race. One who did was Ripp Orf who stayed on into 6th, beaten just under two lengths at the line.
He’s now dropped down to his last winning mark and must be a big player in the upcoming International Stakes, back at Ascot, on King George Day. A race he finished third in last season and a track he goes well at.
Osin’s Got The Power
With Silvestre De Sousa going to Ascot, Osin Murphy came in for a winning spare ride on Mystery Power in the Superlative Stakes. A decent horse normally wins this Group 2 contest and this year’s victor looks up to the race standard. However, they did go very hard in front in the first four furlongs of the race and that played into the hands of the first two home.
The son of No Nay Never built on the promise of winning racecourse debut at Haydock and you had to admire the colt's battling attitude at the finish, as he held off the late challenge of the equally progressive Juan Elcano.
It was a notable big race double for stallion No Nay Never who also sired Ten Sovereigns.
Balding Takes The Beer Money
Up at York, it was John’s Smith’s Cup Day and the 60th anniversary of the Tadcaster Brewery’s sponsorship of the race, the longest sponsorship in horse racing.
Twenty one runners went to post for the race which was won by the Andrew Balding trained Pivoine.
Big Kitten went into an early lead but didn’t seem to go very quick in the early stages. He was headed two furlongs out. But still managed to hold on for sixth at the finish.
The winner could be seen making good progress on the inner and showed a good change of gear to lead just inside the final furlong to hold on by a length.
Pivoine is now 2 from 2 over C&D which underlined the importance of course form in these big field York handicaps.
John Smith's Cup Eyecatcher
If there is one to take out of the race for the future, it could the William Haggas trained My Lord And Master. The 4-year-old was having his first start for 225-days and first run since a gelding operation. He was well fancied in the pre race betting but never get competitive after a sluggish start.
His best RPR had come when runner-up over C&D last October, albeit the ground was soft that day. He looks on a competitive mark and probably found the ground too lively on Saturday.
RIP Beat The Bank
I have to end this look back at the Saturday action on a sad note. Andrew Balding came face to face with the good and bad side of the sport on Saturday
Beat the Bank had just bravely beaten Zaaki to win the Group 2 Summer Stakes. But as he crossed the line, he sustained a severe leg injury and had to be put down.
The 5-year -old wasn’t the classiest miler we have seen but he was a real battler, as he showed on Saturday. It was a cruel way for the horse to end his life and a sad day for the trainer who lost his stable star.
6:30 – Black Friday – Lightly raced for his age; this will just be his 9th career start. We last saw him in action finishing a neck second at Catterick, 279-days ago off today’s mark.
We have to take his fitness on trust but he'd been off the track for 103-days prior to that Catterick run, so we know he goes well fresh. And trainer Karen McLintock proved she could bring a horse back off a long layoff with Dubawi Fifty’s recent effort in the Northumberland Plate.
David Probert is an interesting jockey booking for the gelding who looks on a competitive mark.
Black Friday – each-way
Until, next week.