It is the final day of the July Festival at Newmarket on Saturday with another excellent card of top class racing on show. After winners on the first two days of the meeting we are tackling a couple of races at HQ and there is also a good card at York where we head for one bet as well.
1.40 Newmarket: Bunbury Cup
Normally, the 7 furlong Bunbury Cup is a fiercely competitive handicap but this year, I feel there’s a lack of serious challengers. Gilgamesh is the likely favourite & it’s easy to see why having won his side of the race in the Victoria Cup before landing a Class 2 York handicap. He disappointed at Ascot last time out but that was over 6 furlongs. That said, I’m not sure 6 furlongs at a stiff track is an excuse & he can definitely be opposed here. I’m no Muklal fan & he has it all to prove after his reappearance run at Ascot whilst Firmament & Makzeem has lesser efforts to overcome.
Therefore, of the more fancied runners, I want to have Mubtasim on side. He’s a classy 4 year old that is trying his hand in a handicap for the first time. I feel this mark is within his capabilities based on past form. He had at least solid efforts in Group company last season, including a pair of 3rd’s in the Jersey Stakes & the Sandy Lane Stakes. This term, he was 3rd on the all weather at Chelmsford but improved significantly on his next run when 2nd behind Tabarrak in the Listed Spring Trophy at Haydock. To me, he’s probably the class race in this race & provided he copes with the hustle of a big field handicap, he should go close.
Back Mubtasim (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 10.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-5)
2.15 Newmarket: July Cup
What a cracking Group 1 race we have in prospect here. The big question is whether the 3 year olds, many coming from the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot, will prevail or whether the older horses make their experience count. Blue Point is the favourite after winning the Kings Stand beating Battash in the process but he’s no certainty to follow up whilst, of the other older horses, Dreamfield is lightly raced & a bit of a hype horse so it was disappointing to see him fail in the Wokingham whilst Redkirk Warrior disappointed at Royal Ascot.
US Navy Flag continues to disappoint so I’m focusing on that Commonwealth Cup form. The winner was Eqtidaar but I feel the 2nd deserves the most credit, having raced on the unfavourable part of the track. Sands Of Mali is the horse & he’s incredibly consistent having won the Group 2 Sandy Lane at Haydock & a Group 3 in France. He was also an impressive winner of the Gimcrack as a 2 year old and, to me, will be hard to keep out of the frame. Good or better ground suits & he’s the highest rated 3 year old in the field. He looks to be a cracking each way bet.
Back Sands Of Mali (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 10.00 with Ladbrokes (1/5 1-4)
3.40 York: John Smith’s Cup
The big race over at York is the 10 furlong 59th running of the John Smith’s Cup. Dash Of Spice has been a revelation, trouncing fields at Epsom & Ascot on his last 2 starts but I like to steer clear of horses stepping back in trip when racing at York. This means I want to be against other leading fancies including Thundering Blue & Appeared.
I was going to side with 2 stepping up in trip, the first being Afaak but he is now a non-runner so we will go into the race with just the one selection instead.
That selection is the Scottish raider, What’s The Story. He was 2 places behind Afaak in the Royal Hunt Cup & is 2lbs lower here so can be expected to go well again. His other form is none too shabby either. He’s won a Class 3 handicap off 3lb lower this term & finished 5th in the Zetland Cup over this trip at Redcar. He’s only raced 11 times in his career & is still improving. With the ground suiting & the inside draw in 1, he should go well provided he can get a good early position.
Back What’s The Story (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 15.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-5)
Back it here: