The feature race on day 2 of the July Meeting from Newmarket is the Falmouth Stakes for fillies and mares over a mile. This Group 1 contest has been won by the classic generation for the last three years and the vote goes to the sole three-year-old in the field this afternoon Qabala (3.35).
Trainer Roger Varian reported his filly to have scoped abnormally when disappointing in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh last time and it might be prudent to draw a line through the form. She had previously finished third in the Newmarket 1000 Guineas behind Hermosa, and the ill-fated Lady Kaya, and that looks a true barometer of her ability. The selection is 7/2 at BetVictor and I would be disappointed if she didn’t run a big race in what looks a sub-standard renewal of this Gp 1 prize.
In the opening 10f handicap I hope to see a big run from Mark Johnston’s The Trader (1.50) who has been gelded since finishing second at Epsom on Derby Day. The Middleham handler has saddled the winner of this corresponding race five times in the last six years – with five different jockeys – and he has three of the 15 runners today. The selection is 12/1 at BetVictor and is an each way recommendation.
In the Heritage handicap over 1m 6f Ben Vrackie will be popular having finished fast when second at Royal Ascot over 12f on his seasonal reappearance last month. Today’s additional quarter mile should suit and at 11/4 with BetVictor he is a worthy favourite. Do note that Godolphin’s Secret Advisor – who was returning from a long lay-off last time – has been well backed to reverse the form.
Marginal preference, however, is for Outbox (3.00) who is 8/1 with BetVictor and is the each way recommendation. The selection lost his unbeaten record when beaten a head at Chantilly in a listed contest on his reappearance and will have to improve again to take this ultra-competitive handicap, but after just four career starts he remains open to significant improvement. Note the selection is currently 14/1 at BetVictor for the £1m Ebor at York next month.
Godolphin have saddled the winner of the 7f Maiden three times in the last four years and Charlie Appleby’s beautifully bred Al Suhail (3.30) who cost £1.1gns as a yearling, can make a winning debut. The selection holds an entry in the Group1 National Stakes at the Curragh as does Aidan O’Brien’s Kipling who sets a good, but not insurmountable, standard on debut when second also at the Curragh. He is entitled to come on for that experience and will be a tough nut to crack.
Over at York and Durston (2.40) is the only three-year-old in the mile-and-a-half handicap and leading apprentice Sean Davis takes off a valuable 3lbs. The selection has won his last couple and showed a good turn of foot to win at Chester on soft ground last time from a 6lbs lower mark. The selection is 7/2 with BetVictor and I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a big race.
At Ascot Grenadier Guard (2.50) is closely related to former Gold Cup winner Order Of St George and today’s step up to 2m 4f should suit Mark Johnston’s lightly-raced three-year-old. The selection had four entries at the five-day stage and connections must feel this is the best option. I feel he is capable of much better given he only made his racecourse debut at the beginning of June.
Bella Vita has won her last three on the spin and she must have every chance of making it four in the 12f fillies handicap. She is one of three 3-year-olds in the field, however, and preference is for bottom-weight Sneeky Peek (4.00) who receives 7lbs from the likely market leader. Andrew Balding’s filly has only had four career starts and was not done for stamina when just edged out in a three-runner race on her first start at this distance last time.
Red Armada and Prince Of Harts are progressive three-year-olds and there are more races to be won with the pair, but I felt Elamirr (4.35) got too far back on his seasonal reappearance at Newcastle and is entitled to be a bit sharper for that comeback effort. Charles Bishop gets a rare ride for Roger Varian and the hope is that he gives the selection a more attacking ride than was the case at Gosforth Park.