Newmarket July Festival

Day One

1.50 at Newmarket – Barbados at 9/2

The opening race on the opening day of the July Festival at Newmarket is this Group 3 contest for three year olds over a distance of a mile and five furlongs. The Michael Bell-trained Eagles By Day is the 11/4 favourite at the time of writing after a creditable third place finish in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out.

We prefer the look of the join second favourite, Barbados, however. The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt was second, beaten by just half a length, in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, and we fancy this slightly shorter trip will suit.

2.25 at Newmarket – Pistoletto to win at 6/1

This Group 2 race over six furlongs for two year olds is a tough one to call and the market is going all in on 5/4 favourite Visinari after the Mark Johnston colt won on debut at this course last time out.

We think that price is way too short though and instead we’re plumping for the 6/1 shot Pistoletto who has two wins from two so far and looks like the sort who could thrive at Newmarket.

3.00 at Newmarket – Magical Wish each way at 12/1

A solid-looking handicap is up next and there is plenty in the way of each way value available in this six furlong race for three years olds with a max rating of 105.

The likes of Dazzling Dan, Aplomb and Beat Le Bon all have claims here, but our preference is for the Richard Hannon-trained Magical Wish, priced at 12/1. With Silvestre De Sousa in the saddle this one won at Windsor last year and we fancy he can build on his second place at Sandown last week to get the win here.

3.35 at Newmarket – Masar to win at 6/4

The Princess Of Wales’s Stakes is the biggest race of the day and the Charlie Appleby-trained four year old Masar is one of the best horses to come to Newmarket this week.

He won the Derby last year and was third in the 2000 Guineas, and though he only managed fifth place in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in his seasonal debut, we can see him getting his form back here with another big victory.

Day Two

1.50 at Newmarket – Oasis Prince each way at 10/1

The bet365 Handicap is the opening race of the second day of the July Festival at Newmarket. This Class 2 race for three year olds is run over a distance of a mile and two furlongs. With the odds ranging between 8/1 and 25/1, there are clearly no strong favourites, and as such there is some good each value to hoover up.

Our money is going on the 10/1 shot Oasis Prince, trained by Mark Johnston with Jamie Spencer in the saddle. The colt won last time out at Yarmouth and three times earlier in the season in lower class handicaps, and we think he could definitely make an impact here.

2.25 at Newmarket – Raffle Prize to win at 4/1

The Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes is a decent quality Group 2 six furlong run for two year old fillies, and Roger Varian’s Daahyeh is the one to beat based on her 6/4 price.

We’re happy to take on the favourite, however, and instead we are opting for the Mark Johnston/Frankie Dettori combo for the 4/1 runner Raffle Prize. Our confidence here comes on the back of Raffle Prize’s fine win in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, and we think this makes 4/1 look very good value.

3.00 at Newmarket – Outbox each way at 9/1

One mile and six furlongs is the trip for the 3.00 at Newmarket, the bet365 Trophy Heritage Handicap for four year olds and older. John Gosden’s Ben Vrackie is the favourite at odds of around 11/4 after coming second in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot.

For us though, the second favourite holds more appeal. At odds of 13/2, Simon Crisford’s Outbox looks like solid value after a hat-trick of victories last term and a solid second place last time out at Chantilly.

3.35 at Newmarket – Qabala to win at 7/2

The Falmouth Stakes is up next and this Group 1 mile race promises to be a fine contest this time around with William Haggas’s One Master and Roger Varian’s Qabala looking likely to tussle.

We are siding with the Varian runner despite the filly fluffing her lines in the Irish 1000 Guineas last time out in which she took a bump. Third place in the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in May is a better reflection of her ability in our eyes, and two Newmarket wins prior to that convince us to give her a chance again here.

Day Three

1.50 at Newmarket– Light Blush to win at 15/8

Plenty of likeable sorts in the opening Maiden on the Newmarket card, including Baaqy who looks dangerous for the Gosden/Dettori combo, and Frankel’s Storm who goes for Mark Johnston.

The one to standout out most on paper to our eyes though – at least in regard to the conditions of this race – is Charlie Appleby’s Light Blush. Out of a Pivotal mare, this 7f trip ought to prove ideal, and with stallion Kodiac injecting plenty of speed, he may just prove too quick for these. Team Godolphin have landed two of the five editions of this race to have been run to date and can improve that record still further here.

2.20 at Newmarket– Victory Comand to win at 15/2

Mark Johnston is in flying for at present and has already hit the target three times at this meeting at the time of writing. His Victory Command tops the weights for this handicap contest and looks worth backing to confirm his status as the best horse in this field.

Market leaders Honest Albert, and Akwaan do boast the more progressive profiles on the face of it, but they do need to improve, whereas Victory Command is already thoroughly proven in the grade. A winner at Listed level, it was thought that Group races would be where he ended up plying his trade, and whilst he didn’t quite prove up to that, a win at Hamilton last time out suggested he may be on his way back to form, and a mark of 97 doesn’t look beyond him.

2.55 at Newmarket – Maxi Boy each way at 8/1

There are plenty of likeable sorts in this 7f event for the juveniles, including Kings Command from the yard of Charlie Appleby, and Aidan O’Brien’s Year Of The Tiger. The former looks too short in a competitive heat though, whilst we still aren’t convinced that the O’Brien yard is quite firing on all cylinders at present.

The one we like at the prices is Michael Bell’s Maxi Boy. Getting going pretty late to score on debut over 6f, he again gave the impression that a step up in trip wouldn’t go amiss when eighth – beaten just 3¾l – in the Coventry Stakes last time out. He was hindered by racing away from the main action that day too, and can be seen to be better effect in this smaller field and stepped up in trip. The fact that man of the moment Frankie Dettori is in the saddle can’t hurt his chances either.

3.30 at Newmarket – Vale Of Kent each way at 14/1

We have a familiar name at the top of the market for the Bunbury Cup handicap, with David Baron’s Kynren invariably either at or towards the head of the betting for these quality handicaps. He is however becoming something of a frustrating horse to follow, and has already finished as the bridesmaid twice from three starts this term. With a course and distance win to his name, he will likely run his usual sound race but looks short enough at single figure odds.

It is back to the Mark Johnston yard to which we head for our selection, with Vale Of Kent fancied to go close under Frankie Dettori. The son of Kodiac’s effort first time out in the Royal Hunt Cup this season certainly suggested that a win off his current mark of 99 may not prove beyond him. Considering all of his turf wins have come on good or quicker going, he ran a cracker to be beaten only three lengths in that soft ground contest. Whilst he did flop on the all-weather last time out, it would be far from unusual for one from this yard to bounce back, and he looks solid each way value.