The racing today is about quality as well as quantity and the highlight of nine meetings in Britain and Ireland is the Group 1 July Cup. The Newmarket feature often identifies the best sprinter in Europe. However, the race has lost some of its prestige because last year’s winner, Harry Angel, is not taking part this time. On UK form Blue Point is the best horse in the race. Redkirk Warrior is one of the best sprinters in Australia but may struggle again at this level in England.
The John Smith’s Cup is one of the richest handicaps of the season and is the main race at York. This is another race in which last year’s winner is not in the field. Ballet Concerto won of a rating of 102 and the lowest rated horse this year is four pounds higher. Mordin has a decent opportunity on ratings and form. The horse is due to be ridden by Graham Lee who has won the Grand National and Gold Cup at Royal Ascot so he has excelled on some big occasions in the past.
The July Cup is a race for horses aged three and older and the distance is six furlongs. It is one of Britain’s most prestigious sprint races and a championship contest. Harry Angel won as a three-year-old last season and benefitted from a weight for age allowance. The horse tracked the leaders and was strong in the final furlong. It would have been interesting to see how Harry Angel performed without the allowance but the horse was withdrawn earlier in the week.
The champion sprinter was injured at Royal Ascot when ducking down in the stalls. Harry Angel was the highest rated sprinter in the world last season. Merchant Navy won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in which Harry Angel could not recover from losing several lengths at the start. The big disappointment was Redkirk Warrior who finished 10th without getting into contention at any stage in the race. The horse has winning form with Merchant Navy in Australia.
The Newmarket Handicap is a Group 1 race for horses aged two and older over six furlongs that is run at Flemington. Redkirk Warrior won the race and beat Merchant Navy who finished third less than half a length adrift of the winner. The winner was carrying 10 pounds more than Merchant Navy and that form makes the July Cup winnable but Blue Point can be the fly in the ointment. The horse won the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes over five furlongs at Royal Ascot and the form is solid.
The York heritage handicap is virtually a conditions race due to the narrow range of weights in the projected field. Even though three-year-olds are eligible no horses of that age have shown the form to get a place in the field. With Lee on board Mordin can reward his backers by winning the race at a big price. The horse has finished second on his last three starts but won the three other races he contested. Blue Point and Mordin would make a lucrative double on a busy day for racing.