News yesterday that Ascot has jumped ship again and signed a media rights deal with ATR (Sky Sports Racing) from March 2019. It is a great coup for the new channel which will broadcast Royal Ascot in June next year.
The 48-hour declarations were made yesterday for tomorrow’s Gp 2 July Stakes one of the feature races on day one of Newmarket’s three-day July Cup meeting. Martyn Meade’s Advertise (7/4 fav at BetVictor) finished runner up to Calyx in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and that is the best form on offer, but I was extremely taken with the Yarmouth win of Calyx’s stablemate Legends Of War (5/2 with BetVictor) on debut. The form has taken a few knocks in recent weeks, however, with just the last horse home Phoenix Star a subsequent winner.
Tomorrow’s card looks mouth-watering but we have five flat cards to look forward to today in what promises to be a tumultuous sporting day with the Men’s Quarter-Finals at Wimbledon and the World Cup semi-final between England and Croatia this evening.
At Yarmouth this afternoon Richard Spencer’s Its’afreebee (3.20) can finally break his maiden tag on the level in the 1m 6f Handicap. The 8-year-old has won six times over hurdles and is just 2lbs higher this afternoon than when finishing runner up at Chelmsford over 2m last month when not getting the best of runs.
Kanoon gave weight and a beating to his rivals at Windsor last month and has now won two of his three career starts. He must go close but a mark of 89 is high enough and Valcartier (3.50) should appreciate stepping back up in trip having been hampered at a vital time over a mile at Salisbury last time.
He is hardly one of John Gosden’s stable stars but he has been dropped 3lbs by the handicapper and is fitted with first-time blinkers this afternoon. I hope William Buick makes plenty of use of his mount although The Emperor Within also likes to race prominently.
At Lingfield I expect to see Ryan Tate ride Sir Mark Prescott’s Trouble And Strife (3.00) more prominently than on her seasonal reappearance when staying on late into second over today’s C&D from a 2lbs lower mark. Her stamina is now guaranteed at this trip and, with the yard in such great form, she could easily run up a sequence. Note she is also entered at Hamilton on Saturday.
Street Jester was only beaten a length at Wetherby last time from this mark under Liam Jones and has strong claims but Bailarico (3.30) has won his last three starts and the handicapper may not have his measure given he is only 3lbs higher than when scoring at Nottingham over slightly shorter last month. The selection’s last two wins have both been by just three-quarters of a length and it is possible that he might be able to defy his latest rise in the weights.
There is an eight-race card at Kempton this evening and Firelight (7.25) got the hang of things too late at Sandown over 5f on debut and this additional furlong ought to suit Andrew Balding’s daughter of Oasis Dream who has a cracking draw in stall two. Group One winning jockey Oisin Murphy takes over in the plate this evening.
Magellan (8.25) was no match for Sofia’s Rock at Haydock on his reappearance but the return to an all-weather surface should see him in a better light for Roger Charlton with James Doyle taking over in the plate from the injured Kieran Shoemark.