TOMORROW’S instalment of the QIPCO British Champions Series takes us to Newmarket for one of the most prestigious sprints of the summer in the shape of the July Cup (3.20pm).
It’s not often the six-furlong contest takes place on soft ground but with the atrocious weather continuing that is what we will have tomorrow. And these conditions will not help many horses in a race in which nearly all the charges have question marks hanging over them. Ante-post favourite Bated Breath may not run if the surface doesn’t improve, but the Roger Charlton inmate is yet to win a Group One race in seven attempts. He has also only won one of his last eight starts so, at 10/3 with Coral, I am more than happy to oppose him even if he does line up.
2011 Golden Jubilee winner Society Rock has come in for support this week and will like the ground, but the concern is the son of Rock Of Gibraltar saves his best form for Ascot nowadays. Australian raider Ortensia must put a tame effort at the Royal meeting behind her while the likes of Mayson, Dandy Boy and The Cheka don’t look up to this level.
Instead it is the former Australian-based speedball SEPOY, as short as 9/1 with Coral, but as big as 12/1 on Betfair, that I fancy. In a nation full of sprinting talent Sepoy was talked of as one of the best-ever after winning 10 of his first 11 races Down Under, including four Group Ones.
More importantly all 10 of those victories were on good-to-soft or soft ground and most in better races than this. The Elusive Quality colt wouldn’t be the first to disappoint in Dubai on the unfamiliar Tapeta surface and the fact Godolphin have persevered with him seems significant. As the second highest-rated entrant in the field, and with trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni more than capable of getting one ready after a layoff, I think Sepoy deserves more respect than the bookies are currently offering.
The opening handicap (1.40pm) can go to FLUCTUATE for the red-hot combo of William Buick and John Gosden. He ran well in the Wood Ditton on debut before bolting up in a weak race at Wolverhampton. Reports that he is working well at home suggest an entry in the Group Two Celebration Mile at Goodwood next month is not optimistic and, off a fair handicap mark, he should go well.
Irish trainer David Marnane is getting a reputation for plundering big British handicaps and the handler can grab another with JAMESIE in the Bunbury Cup (2.40pm). The gelding ran a cracker at Royal Ascot on the seemingly unfavoured near side when just losing out in the Buckingham Palace Stakes. He can set the record straight tomorrow with an advantageous looking draw up the stands rail. Current joint-favourite Excellent Guest is far too hit and miss for me so snap up the 7/1 for Jamesie with Coral.
Finally, MOMALORKA could be worth an each-way interest in the £250,000 Weatherby’s Super Sprint at Newbury (3.50pm). She took three attempts to break her maiden but did so in tenacious style at Goodwood. Prior to that, the daughter of Dutch Art ran well on soft ground at Salisbury, so conditions should be fine tomorrow.
Trainer William Haggas has won this lucrative prize twice and his filly gets in off a very low weight with the assistance of the more than capable Kelly Harrison in the saddle. In a race looking to lack a real star, Momalorka should offer us some good value at a double-digit price.
You can follow me on Twitter @BillEsdaile for all my views.
FLUCTUATE 1.40pm Newmarket (tomorrow)
JAMESIE e/w 2.40pm Newmarket (tomorrow)
SEPOY e/w 3.20pm Newmarket (tomorrow)
MOMALORKA e/w 3.50pm Newbury (tomorrow)