Jordan Yates' July Cup Preview. (Newmarket) (14/07/2018)

The July Cup is the feature event of the Newmarket July Festival and it takes place this Saturday afternoon on the July course over at HQ. It’s a Group 1 affair that’s ridden over a distance of six furlong and it see’s some of the best speedsters in training go head to head in what is always a fierce contest.

This year it’s headed by Godolphin’s Blue Point following his heroics in the King’s Stand a Royal Ascot the last day when lowering the colours of the very smart Battaash. He comes here with a great chance once again for trainer Charlie Appleby and the partnership with William Buick is reunited. He can be found trading at a general 11/4 and is sure to have a say for his powerful connections.

As you probably can expect Ballydoyle have various representatives in the contest and the main one of these looks to come in the form of US Navy Flag who’s currently holding down the second favourite position at a general 11/2. He’s generally been tried over a mile in recent times and despite putting in some decent performances in Group 1 company he’s slightly fell short. Ryan Moore is back on board today and connections will be hopeful that this drop back in trip might be the answer. Ballydoyle are also represented by Sioux Nation, Fleet Review, Spirit Of Valour and Intelligent Cross.

One of my all time favourite Flat horses once again takes his place here and that’s of course Limato for Henry Candy. He’s not had the best start to life this season finishing down the field at both Newbury and Ascot but a return to this trip and this course could well spark a bit of life into him. He won this in 2016 and has his old friend Harry Bentley back on board and trades at around the 9/1 mark.

Sands Of Mali has been in great form this season and he deservedly takes his place for trainer Richard Fahey, he was last seen when finishing second in the Commonwealth Cup at at Ascot before winning a Group 2 at Haydock. He’s a live contender and is once again the mount of Paul Hanagan. The winner of the Commonwealth Cup Eqtidaar also lines up here following his Ascot heroics and is reunited with Jim Crowley, he’s potentially still got a lot of improvement in him and could well go close again here.

Others to note look to be Australian raider Redkirk Warrior who looks to restore his reputation following a disappointing showing at Royal Ascot last time when down the field, he can be found trading at a general 9/1 in the betting. Just alongside him in the market is a horse with a lot of potential and that’s Dreamfield for John Gosden and Godolphin. He was just edged out of a big handicap the last day at Royal Ascot when a big gamble was had on him and he could prove himself well up to this kind of company here. He’s the mount of James Doyle and is also around the 9/1 mark in the betting. Old favourite Brando is set to take his chance here for trainer Kevin Ryan and he’s become a horse that most Flat fans have grown to love. He’s a great servant to the game who never stops trying and has once again posted some impressive efforts this term. He was third in this last year and you’d be foolish to rule him out this time around as he could well outrun his odds of 16/1.

VERDICT: This is a really hot renewal of the July Cup as a case can be made for pretty much the whole field as you’ve read above. The one i’m going to take a chance on though is US NAVY FLAG for Aiden O’Brien. He’s got something to prove coming back down in trip but if getting out well and making the running he could well prove tough to peg back. I’ll go for a couple of outsiders to follow him home too in Sioux Nation who I thought was too bad to be true the last day, and Brando who is an all round great performer at this level.

US Navy Flag – (11/2) (E/W)

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