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Final declarations are through for Thursday's Newmarket card where the ground remains Good to Firm despite frequent showers here in London today.

11 go in the Group 2 July Stakes over 1200m for the juvenile colts. ELDRICKJONES (second), EBRO RIVER (fifth) and TOLSTOY (tenth) bring the Coventry form while PROJECT DANTE (third) represents the Norfolk form and DIG TWO (second) represents the Windsor Castle form.

The Coventry and Norfolk are both Group 2 races - the former over 1200m and the latter 1000m. PROJECT DANTE ran strongly through the line despite not getting a clear line and I can see why he's 3/1 favourite for this as he might well be suited by the extra 200m. ELDRICKJONES ran a huge race at a huge price (66/1) in the Coventry and he didn't get the best of runs - I just wonder if he might find this too sharp.

I fancied EBRO RIVER for the Coventry but he was stuck in the wrong part of the track and while he ran well in fifth, he had no chance being so far off the stands rail. I think he's got a big chance but I'm worried I'm chasing my losses at 6s each way.

TOLSTOY was well held but could easily bounce back while DIG TWO was beaten in the lesser race over the 1000m trip at Ascot and also has something to find. Among the bigger priced horses I like the unbeaten ASYMMETRIC for Alan King but this is a big step up. 

I'll probably back EBRO RIVER because I still remember how good he was at Windsor - PROJECT DANTE ticks a lot of the boxes and I can see why he's favourite.

Just five go in the Princess of Wales over 2400m. AL AASY is well in on the numbers - he gets 3 lbs from SIR RON PRIESTLEY as the latter has a penalty for his Jockey Club Stakes win earlier in the season. I did slightly question AL AASY's attitude at Epsom but PYLEDRIVER is a very good horse as we know. I don't normally play at 4/6 unless I'm really serious and I'm not so I shall sit this one out from a betting view.

The Group 3 Bahrain Trophy over 2600m is in effect a Leger Trial and has drawn a decent field headed by STOWELL who was a fair third to KEMARI at Ascot. That might be good enough here but the interesting horse is YIBIR who has his first run after the unkindest cut of all. He was third to ALENQUER and ABAYAR in the Sandown Park Classic Trial and last time was a four length second to LONE EAGLE (subsequent Irish Derby runner up) at Goodwood. You could argue he's mixed it with some very good 3-y-o but I'm not convinced - he did little at Chester and while it may be gelding will make him a proper racehorse, I need some evidence.

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Entries through for Saturday and 23 are in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket. Currently King's Stand winner OXTED is 4/1 favourite with Duke of York winner STARMAN at 9/2 and first past the post in the Commonwealth Cup, DRAGON SYMBOL, at 5/1.

The Group 2 Superlative for the juvenile colts over 1400m has 12 entries and my eye is drawn to impressive Sandown winner NATIVE TRAIL, yet another of what looks a strong crop of Godolphin juveniles this year. He's by Oasis Dream and is the first foal of an unraced mare called Needleleaf out of Observatory so a lot of Juddmonte influence.

At Ascot, 14 have been entered for the Group 2 Summer Mile over the Round 1600m. Queen Anne third SIR BUSKER heads what looks a very tightly-knit field.

More in this and the Jean Prat later in the week.

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Friday's final declarations are through.

13 go in the Falmouth over 1600m for the fillies and mares. This is a bigger field than usual and is some indication the hierarchy among the 3-y-o filly milers is far from clear. Eight 3-y-os take on five older horses.

Starting with the former, we have the Coronation Stakes winner ALCOHOL FREE, the English 1000 Guineas winner MOTHER EARTH and the Irish 1000 Guineas winner EMPRESS JOSEPHINE. It's unusual to see three Group 1 winners in the field and they've all been beaten as well in Group 1 company. SNOW LANTERN chased home ALCOHOL FREE at Ascot but was herself well held in third behind PRIMO BACIO in the Middleton at York. It's a tenuous form line and she has it to find on the ratings but plenty of the so-called experts fancy  PRIMO BACIO.

The main form line for the older fillies is the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge at Ascot which INDIE ANGEL won well beating LADY BOWTHORPE and QUEEN POWER. All three are closely matched on that but they have to give weight to Group 1 fillies and I just struggle with that for all the 3-y-os have yet to really convince.

The one that interests me at a bigger price is SAFFRON BEACH - she was second to MOTHER EARTH at Newmarket and was clearly unsuited by the slow ground at Epsom in the Oaks. Back on a quick surface, she could be running on late and at 14s I've had a small investment. The thing is, the young fillies can improve at a rate of knots and it may well be one of them will suddenly find 7-10 lbs and scamper clear. It's going to be a fascinating race to watch and, I'd argue, more interesting than the big sprint on Saturday.

9 go in the Duchess of Cambridge for the juvenile fillies over 1200m. The Albany form gets a good going-over with the first three home, SANDRINE, HELLO YOU and OSCULA all running along with unplaced FLOTUS. It was heavy at Ascot but it's good to firm currently at Newmarket so that's a huge variable. The problem is none of them have any fast turf form - SANDRINE and HELLO YOU won their maidens on the artificial surfaces. OSCULA won on good ground at Epsom but she's had plenty of racing and looks vulnerable to the lesser experienced types.

I don't like these races from a punting viewpoint - too many known unknowns or is it unknown knowns? 

14 are left in Sunday's Jean Prat at Deauville over 1400m - the likely favourite is the Poulains second COLOSSEO, whose form behind ST MARK'S BASILICA got a real boost last weekend.

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I see Y'Bir has had the unkindest cut of all Stodge since he went on the Derby trail .

Appleby has assembled a decent team of three year old geldings now , all entered in Volitigeur , Manabo, KemerI and Y"'Bir , thinking he might be assembling  a team to Melbourne .

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On 7/8/2021 at 7:20 AM, stodge said:

Friday's final declarations are through.

13 go in the Falmouth over 1600m for the fillies and mares. This is a bigger field than usual and is some indication the hierarchy among the 3-y-o filly milers is far from clear. Eight 3-y-os take on five older horses.

Starting with the former, we have the Coronation Stakes winner ALCOHOL FREE, the English 1000 Guineas winner MOTHER EARTH and the Irish 1000 Guineas winner EMPRESS JOSEPHINE. It's unusual to see three Group 1 winners in the field and they've all been beaten as well in Group 1 company. SNOW LANTERN chased home ALCOHOL FREE at Ascot but was herself well held in third behind PRIMO BACIO in the Middleton at York. It's a tenuous form line and she has it to find on the ratings but plenty of the so-called experts fancy  PRIMO BACIO.

The main form line for the older fillies is the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge at Ascot which INDIE ANGEL won well beating LADY BOWTHORPE and QUEEN POWER. All three are closely matched on that but they have to give weight to Group 1 fillies and I just struggle with that for all the 3-y-os have yet to really convince.

The one that interests me at a bigger price is SAFFRON BEACH - she was second to MOTHER EARTH at Newmarket and was clearly unsuited by the slow ground at Epsom in the Oaks. Back on a quick surface, she could be running on late and at 14s I've had a small investment. The thing is, the young fillies can improve at a rate of knots and it may well be one of them will suddenly find 7-10 lbs and scamper clear. It's going to be a fascinating race to watch and, I'd argue, more interesting than the big sprint on Saturday.

9 go in the Duchess of Cambridge for the juvenile fillies over 1200m. The Albany form gets a good going-over with the first three home, SANDRINE, HELLO YOU and OSCULA all running along with unplaced FLOTUS. It was heavy at Ascot but it's good to firm currently at Newmarket so that's a huge variable. The problem is none of them have any fast turf form - SANDRINE and HELLO YOU won their maidens on the artificial surfaces. OSCULA won on good ground at Epsom but she's had plenty of racing and looks vulnerable to the lesser experienced types.

I don't like these races from a punting viewpoint - too many known unknowns or is it unknown knowns? 

14 are left in Sunday's Jean Prat at Deauville over 1400m - the likely favourite is the Poulains second COLOSSEO, whose form behind ST MARK'S BASILICA got a real boost last weekend.

What is the opinion of BAAEED over there Stodge ? Has looked very good in his three wins so far..never been tested in any of them.

 

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14 hours ago, Ohokaman said:

What is the opinion of BAAEED over there Stodge ? Has looked very good in his three wins so far..never been tested in any of them.

 

It was certainly an impressive performance - MAXIMAL was fourth in the St James's Palace and ONE RULER was sixth in the Derby and he handed out a beating to both on levels despite being 7lbs "inferior" according to the numbers.

If you take MAXIMAL's run literally, BAAEED would only have been a length off POETIC FLARE at Ascot - the latter is now rated 122 so BAAEED should be mid-110s at least but ran off 104 yesterday.

He's a full to HUKUM who is a stayer but this one seems to have more speed. The dam won over 2000m and you'd be confident BAAEED would get that. His only entry is the Group 2 Mile at Goodwood at the end of August. I suppose they want want to over-face him at this stage. Haggas was non-committal yesterday over future plans.

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19 go in tomorrow's July Cup over 1200m and it looks a cracking renewal.

Twelve older horses face seven 3-y-os who get 6-9 lbs weight of age from their elders.

Starting with the older horses and while they raced again on quick ground this afternoon, heavy showers and storms continue to be forecast this evening and overnight. IF the ground stays fast, Duke of York winner STARMAN looks a worthy 4/1 favourite - he won well on the quick at York and could well be the new kid on the block. He won't find it easy against last year's winner OXTED who represents the small stable of Roger Teal. OXTED won a mad King's Stand as the front runners went too quick and he picked up the pieces. I just think a stiff 1000m might be more his trip now - he looked good at Newmarket (the other course) over that trip.

CHIL CHIL is a rapidly improving mare who sauntered home in the Group 3 Chipchase at Newcastle a fortnight ago but this is a very different proposition while all the evidence suggests GLEN SHIEL and ART POWER need rain and plenty of it.

I think EXTRAVAGANT KID, the American challenger, has a real chance. He was a close third in the King's Stand and that was his first run since winning the Al Quoz Sprint at the Dubai World Cup. If the ground stays quick and Dettori can finesse him into the race, he's not short of speed. 

The younger horses are headed by DRAGON SYMBOL who was demoted after finishing first past the post in the Commonwealth Cup. He seems indifferent to ground conditions and his defeat of SIGNIFICANTLY at Hamilton looked even better after the latter won a big handicap at Ascot.

CREATIVE FORCE won the Jersey over 1400m at Ascot but on a line through SIGNIFICANTLY has a little to find with DRAGON SYMBOL. ROHAAN beat DRAGON SYMBOL in a desperate finish to the Sandy Lane at Haydock but as a gelding couldn't run in the Commonwealth Cup. Instead, he carried a big weight and won the Wokingham Handicap and is rated the same as DRAGON SYMBOL.

If SUPREMACY brought his juvenile form - winner of the Richmond and Middle Park - he would be right in this but he flopped on his return at Ascot at the end of April and hasn't been seen since. If anyone can bring a sprinter back, it's Clive Cox but this will be the apex of his training career if SUPREMACY wins.

When horses rated 112 are priced at 50s and bigger you know you have a quality race and I'd go as far as to say this is the race of the season so far.

Who wins?

Short answer, I don't know - it's impossible to correlate the 3-y-o and older horse form. Among the older horses, I prefer OXTED to STARMAN and EXTRAVAGANT KID Is a fascinating variable. The strength may be however with the 3-y-os - DRAGON SYMBOL has run plenty of times and always well - the better ground will help but to be fair he and CAMPANNELLE decisively defeated the others at Ascot. Both CREATIVE FORCE and ROHAAN are also Ascot winners - the latter looks fascinating.

Put a gun to my head and I'd be on DRAGON SYMBOL but this looks a real race to savour.

The supporting Group 2 is the Superlative over 1400m for which nine go to post. DHABAB was sixth in the Coventry but wasn't beaten far - I prefer the Godolphin colt NATIVE FLAIR who impressed me on debut at Sandown.

Ten go in the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot - TILSIT is 4/1 favourite after his good run in France last time. SIR BUSKER's third in the Queen Anne reads very well but I'm not convinced - AL SUHAIL won the 2020 version of the race BAAEED won yesterday and then ran third to LORD GLITTERS in the Jebel Hatta. CENTURY DREAM might be the answer - he's a solid Group 2 performer and had a nice confidence-booster in a Listed at Windsor last time.

13 go in Sunday's Jean Prat over 1400m at Deauville - the likes of BATTLEGROUND, WEMBLEY and THUNDER MOON are all on retrieval missions and I prefer Poulains runner up COLOSSEO.

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Looking back to Day One of the Newmarket July Festival and a thrilling finish for the Princess Of Wales's saw SIR RON PRIESTLEY hold off the challenge of odds on favourite AL AASY who travelled up to challenge 600m out but just couldn't or perhaps wouldn't go past. I wasn't entirely convinced by AL AASY's attitude at Epsom behind PYLEDRIVER and again I wasn't sure he went through with it though to be fair SIR RON PRIESTLEY was the winner of the Jockey Club Stakes (the equivalent race early in the year on the other Newmarket course) and clearly goes well on fast ground.

The Ascot juvenile form was left in tatters after the July Stakes with LUSAIL just holding off ASYMMETRIC (who ran a huge race I thought) and the outsider SAM MAXIMUS. EBRO RIVER ran best of the Ascot runners in fourth but he did a little too much early on and ran out of steam in the final 100m.

ELDRICKJONES ran fifth but the other Ascot runners were disappointing and it's an early caution on the form from the Royal meeting.

Another to disappoint from Ascot was STOWELL who trailed home last in the Bahrain Trophy. To be fair, the betting market seemed to "know" something was up as STOWELL drifted out to 11/4 from early 7/4 and the money came from YIBIR in to 6/4. The latter has had a couple of impediments removed since his last run at Goodwood and that will stop him running in the English Leger (though not the Irish counterpart nor indeed the Melbourne Cup). 

The bloodstock thread has already noted the success of FRANKELLA (Frankel - Arabian Queen). The full brother won a 2400m handicap off 66 last month which doesn't bode too well for FRANKELLA.

The one I'd take from the race is INVIGILATE, a full to EXPERT EYE. I thought she ran a decent debut in fifth.

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Just a reminder a significant European race this coming Wednesday - the Grand Prix de Paris.

This is traditionally run on Bastille day at Longchamp and marks the end of the spring/summer phase of the French season before everything shifts to Deauville for August.

As a race, the Grand Prix has enjoyed a big upturn in fortune since the Jockey Club went from 2400m to 2050m a few years ago. 

The Grand Prix de Paris is in essence the French Derby if you believe Derby races should be run over 2400m - it's an early Arc Trial as well.

12 have been entered so far but there is a final declaration on Monday. 

Charlie Appleby has entered both Irish Derby winner HURRICANE LANE and William Haggas has entered King Edward VII winner ALENQUER. Aidan O'Brien has entered WORDSWORTH, THE MEDITERRANEAN and SIR LAMORAK while the Jockey Club fourth and fifth, SAIYDABAND and CHESHIRE ACADEMY, are also in the field.

More on this early next week.

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The second day of the July Festival saw a continuation of the cloudy, humid weather from the first day. Occasional sunnier breaks saw rises in temperature but the ground remained Good to Firm despite 3 mm of overnight irrigation.

The feature was the Group 1 Falmouth for the fillies and mares over 1600m and the first clash of the classic generation and their elders. It was a strong field, arguably one of the best renewals in recent times. The top 3-y-o form from the Coronation Stakes at Ascot was well represented by the first three home, ALCOHOL FREE, SNOW LANTERN and the 1000 Guineas winner, MOTHER EARTH. Add in the Middleton winner PRIMO BACIO and it was little wonder the classic fillies, getting weight, were preferred in the betting.

The older fillies were headed by those who had run well in the Duke of Cambridge at Ascot with INDIE ANGEL, LADY BOWTHORPE and QUEEN POWER, the first three home in that Group 2, all re-opposing.

Falmouth Stakes: 

One of those races with so much to talk about and it's worth watching a number of times.

They went far side which is unusual at the July Course but with the stalls centre and the three fancied classic fillies all drawn high, perhaps not so much. Oisin Murphy set out his stall on ALCOHOL FREE but I think this was an ill-judged ride. She won at Ascot from off the pace - connections hadn't been fully convinced she got the 1600m after the Guineas. Here they rode her for stamina but it left her a target and while 400m down, she was leading I never thought she would hold on.

Ryan Moore rode the race on MOTHER EARTH you'd expect him to ride and was always in a good position. She looked much happier on the quicker turf than she had at Ascot and ran down ALCOHOL FREE in the final 200m only to be mugged herself on the jamstick by SNOW LANTERN who had run home strongly at Ascot and Sean Levey got it right here. Her mother, SKY LANTERN, had arguably been an unlucky loser in this back in 2013 and while redemption may be too strong a word, this filly is bred to be a champion (sire is of course Frankel) and while it's taken a little time and especially after a moderate run at York, she has risen to the top.

It's always good to see Group 1 form vindicated and the first three in the Coronation were the first three here with first, second and third then third, first and second now. There's very little between them and they are all now Group 1 winning fillies.

As you'll see from the video, two others were finishing very fast and late down the outside meaning the first five were split by a length and a half. LADY BOWTHORPE's trainer, William Jarvis, was in tears after and claimed she'd have won with a clear run. I'm not convinced though in her defence she was drawn on the wrong side of the race but she did herself no favours with a poor start and that put her on the back foot. On this evidence, she's clearly the beat of the older fillies.

The one for me from the race was PRIMO BACIO who had the same experience as LADY BOWTHORPE and was also finishing very well. She looked very good at York when she had SKY LANTERN behind and she's well worth another try at the highest level on this evidence.

Of the others, PRETTY GORGEOUS continues to disappoint though this wasn't a bad effort while JUST BEAUTIFUL raced prominently until finding it all too much 300m out.

Also worth noting they ran 1.5 seconds below Standard so this was a serious pace and a serious race.

The supporting Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge once again saw Ascot form stand up well - in contrast to day one - as Albany winner SANDRINE followed up convincingly and looks ready for a step up to Group 1. She basically went wide and ran past them all - perhaps, and there was some evidence of this during the afternoon, the far side was running quicker than the stands side which had been well used on the first day. Nonetheless, she was much the best of these and confirmed the Ascot form with HELLO YOU, who finished third here. They were split by DESERT DREAMER who had run midfield in the Queen Mary and been beaten over the course and distance in Listed company but this was a much improved effort.

SANDRINE was getting fancy quotes for next year's 1000 Guineas - she's owned and bred by Kirsten Rausing and is a daughter of the American galloper Bobby's Kitten out of a Pivotal mare. You'd think on that breeding 1600m would be her limit and I suspect the Commonwealth Cup is a much more likely option.

Elsewhere on an interesting card, the opening 1400m juvenile maiden for the colts often throws up a good one  - this year's Chester Vase winner and Derby also-ran YOUTH SPIRIT won it last year - and Godolphin unleashed yet another useful sort in NOBLE TRUTH, a son of KIngman out of a Frankel mare. HIs debut third to LUSAIL had been well advertised by the latter yesterday and NOBLE TRUTH did this well. However, the real eyecatcher was the runner up, EHRAZ, on debut. a son of Showcasing out of an Exceed and Excel mare (so you'd think he'd be all speed) who stormed up the hill in the manner of a decent type - definitely one for the Stodge notebook.

Another to note from Friday was the royal runner, LIGHT REFRAIN, who took the Group 3 over 1200m for the fillies and mares at York. She's clearly on the upgrade and I expect we'll see her at Goodwood.

 

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I was surprised to Ehraz, bred to be sprinter, given a 7 furlong race first up.  I had a lazy tenner on him.  He paid $3.50 for a place here in N.Z.  As they crossed the line it flashed up as $3.70, but our TAB is not as quick at adjusting the odds for a late scratching as they possibly could be; but it was 12.15 a.m.!!!

Red Rum's comments on this horse would be appreciated.  I have huge respect for his encyclopaedic knowledge of English racing.  That huge knowledge is the polar opposite to what he wrote about Shaun Phelan.

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A very busy weekend up here and I think I’ll do this in two bits so this one will cover the Saturday UK races and then I’ll say something about the Jean Prat and events at Belmont in my next contribution.

“Super Saturday”, as it’s become known, is an overblown nonsense if I’m being honest. Moving the July Cup to the Saturday has diluted good meetings at York and Ascot and done Chester no favours. Traditional races like the John Smith’s Cup, the Summer Mile, the Bunbury Cup, and others have all lost coverage and profile yet next Saturday is quiet.

Someone needs to bang some heads together and move York or Ascot to the Sunday (which had nothing of interest). Offer tv coverage and they’d be happy (or should be). Obviously, this year events elsewhere were always going to get more attention but that doesn’t happen every day.

Anyway, the vast expanses of Newmarket meant while there was no rain from the 1200m pole, there was a shower further out making the ground Good to Firm, Good in places.

The feature was a strong renewal of the July Cup over 1200m, the midsummer sprint championship race in that division following on from the Diamond Jubilee at Ascot and leading to races like the Haydock Park Sprint or perhaps the Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.

19 went to post and to this observer it looked more like an Australian sprint race:

July Cup:

 

A decisive win for STARMAN who now clearly goes to the top of the sprinting division. His flaw is his dislike for soft turf which ruled him out of Ascot and may mean he’s not the force in the autumn when the mud begins to fly again. He seems to love coming off a strong gallop and I wonder if his connections are tempted by the Maurice de Gheest or perhaps even the Breeders Cup.

OXTED ran a strange race – out in the middle but lugging right It cost him second but didn’t cost him the race. It wasn’t such a strong renewal last year, but he remains a serious force in sprints for all I think a stiff 1000m is ideal (which probably rules out York).

DBRAGON SYMBOL ran another blinder for all he was well held by the winner. This suggests the 3-y-o sprinters are decent but no world beaters. He’ll find it hard to beat STARMAN at Haydock but if the latter doesn’t turn up, DRAGON SYMBOL would be a big fancy.

ART POWER went hard on the far side and was well held by the winner but finished up with the placed runners. We know he doesn’t mind some cut so Haydock might be ideal if we get more rain.

CREATIVE FORCE ran home strongly to be a close fifth and the Maurice de Gheest or perhaps the Opera look ideal as another 200m looks right up his street.

GLEN SHIEL and ROHAAN didn’t run badly on ground that wasn’t ideal and they will be much bigger players in the autumn.

Plenty of other interesting races on the card – the Group 2 Superlative saw the Godolphin runner NATIVE TRAIL just hold off MASEKELA with the Coventry favourite DHABAB well held in third. The winner is a big, unfurnished type and it’ll be interesting to see if he can emulate last year’s winner of the race, MASTER OF THE SEAS (back in training after injury).

Another Godolphin winner on the card worth following is ROYAL FLEET who won his third race in the 1600m Class 2 handicap. It was evident he’s held in high regard at home but he still has a lot of maturing to do – he could be an interesting miler next year.

Finally, the Bunbury Cup over 1400m saw top weight MOTAKHAYYEL follow up his 2020 win off a mark of 109. He’s superb over the Newmarket July course but not as effective elsewhere so that limits him rather – if he could produce his July Course form elsewhere, he’d be a Group horse.

At York, the ground was just on the slow side of good.

The Group 3 Silver Cup over 2800m was basically an Ebor Trial for the top weights (and perhaps a trial for other races further “south”). HUKUM, who may just be known as BAEED’s full brother before long, did this well and paid another compliment to the Hardwicke form (he was third, BROOME was second and of course WONDERFUL TONIGHT won).

I thought OUTBOX ran a huge race while the 2020 Ebor winner, the fragile FUJAIRA PRINCE, ran a fine re-appearance in third and will no doubt be a big player back over course and distance in August even though he’s rated 115 and would be an ideal contender for the Melbourne Cup.

I thought WINTER POWER had a serious chance in the King’s Stand at Ascot, but she went off with the speedballs and burnt herself out 300m down – back in calmer waters (Listed), she burned off the likes of MOSS GILL and you’d think she will fetch up at York for the Nunthorpe but again there will be plenty to go with the speed over that flat 1000m.

On to Ascot, where the ground was also just on the slow side. The feature Group 2 Summer Mile was like a French race – a slow early and a sprint home. Being on the front end in such a race can be a big advantage and Jamie Spencer rode a brilliant controlling race on CENTURY DREAM which nearly worked. Unfortunately, TILSIT had run a blinder in the Ispahan and ran down CENTURY DREAM in the final 50m.

Group 1 form in a Group 2 race – there for all to see and 4/1 was arguably a steal. One to note from the race was AL SUHAIL – Charlie Appleby had said from Newmarket he thought the horse would run well and once again he was right. As to whether AL SUHAIL can go on from that I don’t know but I wonder if TILSIT will head back to France for the Marois or the Moulin.

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Saturday evening saw the unusual sight of the beaten favourites for both the English Derby and Oaks seeking redemption not at Aacot, The Curragh or Newmarket but at Belmont Park where the Belmont Oaks and Belmont Derby Invitational races over 2000m carried serious prize money.

SANTA BARBARA had run fourth in the English 1000 Guineas (in the mix with the likes of ALCOHOL FREE and MOTHER EARTH) but had been well held in the Oaks. Up against probably sub standard rivals, she was perhaps not given the best of rides by Ryan Moore who got himself into a pocket but she had the speed to get herself (and him) out of trouble and pick up USD 441,000 (£273,700). On Friday, the aforementioned Guineas rivals ran for £122,000 in the Falmouth but, shrewd though the placing may seem, I suspect Coolmore and the "lads" weren't just in it for the pot.

SANTA BARBARA is now a Grade 1 winning filly in the US and that makes her attractive for the US bloodstock market.

On then to the Derby Invitational and BOLSHOI BALLET, who had flopped when favourite for the Derby at Epsom,  duly saw off some second division American turf horses to collect USD 630,000 (£390,500) and of course to establish himself as a Grade 1 winning potential stallion.

On the same day as the great GALILEO died, it's revealing Coolmore see the worldwide aspect to racing and see the racing world far beyond the confines of Europe and it may well be future Derby and Oaks winners might seek to race beyond Europe to build that worldwide profile.

In France, the Jean Prat took place on Very Soft ground at Deauville yesterday:

Prix Jean Prat: 

To be fair, this was a bit of a turn up - LAWS OF INDICES went off 29/1 in the UK. He'd been well held in fifth in the Commonwealth Cup but seemed to see out the 1400m really well. It was really good to see THUNDER MOON return to some decent form back over a short er trip and he can perhaps build on that later in the year.

The local favourite, MIDTOWN, was having only his third race and first run of the season so was entitled to get tired late on but this was an effort full of promise. The filly VALORIA ran well in fourth and the first four were nicely ahead of the others who were headed by the disappointing COLOSSEO and WEMBLEY while BATTLEGROUND was again poor - I really think he needs to get back to some faster ground (I'd have run him in the July Cup but what do I know?).

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A strong card for Bastille Day at Longchamp on Wednesday and eleven go in the Grand Prix de Paris over 2400m. All colts by the way.

There's a very strong British and Irish raiding party as you might expect for this £300k first prize (far better than anything else on offer at the moment).

Irish Derby winner and English Derby third HURRICANE LANE looks the place to start - he saw out the trip really well at The Curragh when running down LONE EAGLE close home but he faces a real challenge in ALENQUER who beat subsequent English Derby winner ADAYAR at Sandown and followed up in the King Edward VII at Ascot. On this slightly slower ground, I'm inclined to ALENQUER but it's not an easy call.

Aidan O'Brien runs three - WORDSWORTH looks like a stayer, THE MEDITERRANEAN doesn't look good enough and SIR LAMORAK might be the improver after his decent second in a warm Royal Ascot handicap.

The local challenge looks harder to define - the Jockey Club form is represented by fourth place SAIYDABAD, who will relish the extra 400m and fifth place CHESHIRE ACADEMY. 

I'm more interested in the stoutly bred German raider NORTHERN RULER, who beat BUBBLE GIFT in the Lys over 2400m at Chantilly.

That being said, I'd be surprised if the British Group 1 form wasn't superior.

Five go in the Group 2 Maurice de Nieuil over 2800m. SUBLIMIS avoids IN SWOOP for a change and he may have too much tactical speed for SKAZINO and VALIA, who were the first two in the Vicomtesse Vigier last time.

Looking further ahead to the weekend and it's very quiet in the UK but at The Curragh we have the Irish Oaks on Saturday and a couple of Group 2 races on Sunday. In France, we have the Papin on Sunday.

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Entries are through for Saturday's meeting at The Curragh where the ground is Good.

Just 9 stand in the Irish Oaks and seven are trained by the O'Briens - Aidan has five and Donnacha and Joseph one each while Ger Lyons and Fozzy Stack train the others.

SNOWFALL is 3/10 to follow up her English Oaks success - she is 15 lb ahead of these on the figures. NICEST was third in the Ribblesdale at Ascot and looks booked for second. DIVINELY was one place and a length behind her having finished third, 18 lengths behind SNOWFALL at Epsom. You could argue on that form DIVINELY looks a knocking each way bet at 10s but you'd need at least eight to stand and I can't see it.

No British raiders there but the Group 2 Sapphire over 1000m is a different matter. Favourite and clear top rated is the 3-y-o LOGO HUNTER who has convincingly won three Listed events and was impressive at Cork last time. Ed Walker, fresh from his first Group 1 with STARMAN last Saturday, has entered CAME FROM THE DARK, who won a Group 3 at Sandown last time. The one that interests me at a slightly bigger price is ROMANTIC PROPOSAL for all she might prefer 1200m.

Sunday's Curragh card has a couple of Group 2 races - the Minstrel over 1400m is their equivalent of the Lennox at Goodwood. ORDER OF AUSTRALIA steps down in trip and grade having mixed it with the likes of GOLDEN SIXTY and PALACE PIER the last twice - 15 have been entered with six older horses and nine 3-y-o, among whom KHARTOUM catches my eye.

19 have been entered for the Kilboy Estate over 1800m. The convincing Sandringham winner CREATE BELIEF has been entered - if she can reproduce her heavy ground Ascot form on quicker turf, she'll be too good for this lot.

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Just seen HURRICANE LANE demolish the field in the Grand Prix de Paris. 

To be fair, Buick got a lovely sit just behind the pacemaker THE MEDITERRANEAN but he quickened smartly 400m out and that was that. WORDSWORTH ran on for second with ALENQUER third. I thought James Doyle rode a poor race on the third - from a wide draw, he elected to sit behind but was a long way off the pace and just couldn't make it up on the slow turf.

As soon as he passed the post, I wondered if HURRICANE LANE might be back over course and distance for the Arc - on this evidence, he's clearly the best 3-y-o colt over 2400m though we must give Derby winner ABAYAR the chance to prove himself in the King George in eleven days and of course ST MARK'S BASILICA has done it over 2000m.

The French 3-y-o colts, on the other hand, look very moderate.

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Grand Prix de Paris: 

He's 6/1 favourite for the Arc. If SNOWFALL is the real deal (and we'll know more after Saturday), he will be playing for places but they all will - LOVE will be a real factor if the ground is quick. ST MARK'S BASILICA is 8/1 and TARNAWA is 9/1.

As for Saturday, eight stand in the Irish Oaks - Aidan O'Brien has four of them including SNOWFALL who remains 1/3 with NICEST at 7/2. The former is unopposable IF she reproduces the Epsom form but as we saw last year with SERPENTINE, Epsom can throw up a funny result now and then. NICEST looks a solid option at 7/2 and with eight standing, DIVINELY at 12s is an each way bet to nothing.

Eight also go in the Group 2 Sapphire - LOGO HUNTER is 5/4 but he's short enough for me and I quite like MEASURE OF MAGIC, whose third in the Commonwealth Cup reads even better after last weekend's July Cup.

 

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Nine go in Sunday's Papin over 1200m at Chantilly where the ground is Soft.

ATOMIC FORCE returns to the site of his Bois victory when he beat BLACK LIVES MATTER five lengths. Kevin Ryan trains this one and he has publicly complained about British prize money and supported French races - the Papin first prize is a respectable £66,000.

HELLOMYDARLIN represents the successful freshman trainer George Boughey. However, her form doesn't look up to this - second in a small race last time. 

TIPPERARY SUNSET was with John Quinn in the north and won a couple of races but he's another whose owners have decided to look for better pots in France so he's now with Pascal Bary. The races he won in the UK were nothing special and he'll have to improve.

The filly DIABLOTINE may be the most interesting of the locals - she's won her two provincial races by wide margins and was impressive last time at Vichy.

At The Curragh, eight go in the Group 2 Minstrel for which ORDER OF AUSTRALIA looks a value 9/4 and favourite. Eight also in the Kilboy Estate over 1800m. A more interesting race - favourite and rightly so is CREATE BELIEF who created such a strong impression when winning the Sandringham at Ascot. If she can build on that, Group 2 will be well within her compass but the ground is a lot quicker.

The British raider is ANGEL POWER and she improved last season ending up winning a Group 3 at Newmarket and following up in a Group 2 in Italy. She's been off nearly nine months but this is a logical first step for her 4-y-o campaign and this isn't the strongest Group 2 ever.

I've often talked about following Group 1 form in lower level Group races and INSINUENDO brings a fourth in the Group 1 Pretty Polly to the table. That was her seasonal debut so she could come on a little from that - it was a decent effort on quick ground and I take her to prevail.

I don't think I've mentioned the sad news reported during the Newmarket July meeting of the serious injury sustained by Gold Cup winner SUBJECTIVIST following his Ascot heroics. He has filling in one of his legs and it's quite possible we won't see him on a racecourse again - he's certainly out for the season and that has thrown the staying division back into the air.

STRADIVARIUS, a well held fourth in the Gold Cup, has been installed as 13/8 favourite for the Goodwood Cup on July 27th. 

Before that, LOVE is currently 9/4 favourite for the King George at Ascot next Saturday with ADAYAR at 7/2, MISHRIFF and PYLEDRIVER at 8s and HURRICANE LANE at 10s with LONE EAGLE and SNOWFALL. 

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A look back at a very hot weekend of racing up here. In truth, the racing not that hot but the weather certainly was.

The feature on Saturday was the Irish Oaks at The Curragh over 2400m.

Irish Oaks: 

I suppose you could quibble and say she only won eight and a half lengths but this was embarrassingly easy and while you could question what she beat, the manner of her success makes her head and shoulders the top middle distance 3-y-o filly.

My each way bet on DIVINELY at 12s produced a nice profit as she ran on to be second just getting past NICEST who ran okay and WILLOW, who was prominent and may have done a little too much early.

She's in the King George, the Nassau and the Juddmonte but the likeliest option looks to be the Yorkshire Oaks for which she has been introduced at 4/5. 

Elsewhere on The Curragh card on Saturday, MOONIESTA relished the quicker ground when winning the Group 2 Sapphire. She had finished sixth in the Commonwealth Cup in the Ascot mud but she had won at Naas on decent ground before and she seemed to enjoy this seeing off GUSTAVUS WESTON, another who returned to better form on quicker turf.

Nothing much of quality in the UK but Hunt Cup winner REAL WORLD followed up nicely in Listed company at Newbury just outpointing DERAB, Enable's brother.

Yesterday, ATOMIC FORCE made every yard for a smooth win in the Papin. He's a serious 2-y-o and I hope we'll see him in races like the Gimcrack so we can see where he sits with the Ascot form.

Delighted to say one of my biggest bets for a while came in as ORDER OF AUSTRALIA won the Minstrel pretty comfortably. He's one of those for whom an easy 1600m or a stiff 1400m would be ideal but neither of those are plentiful in Group 1 company but make no mistake he's a Group 1 horse and races like this are his for the taking if he's anywhere near form.

I talk about Group 1 form in Group 2  races and after ORDER OF AUSTRALIA we then had Pretty Polly fourth INSINUENDO who put up a smart performance to win the Kilboy Estate over 1800m. She's very good - the Nassau may be a bit quick - and they've entered her in the Matron which would be flying high.

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Looking ahead to the coming weekend and all roads lead to Ascot for the Group 1 King George & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes over 2400m - this is the midsummer championship race at this distance and the equivalent of races like the Eclipse at 2000m and the Sussex at 1600m in being the first big clash between the classic generation and the older horses.

In recent times, the 3-y-os haven't really got involved but it's different this year as the nine entries include two 3-y-os. ADAYAR, the English Derby winner, and LONE EAGLE, the Irish Derby runner up, are two fascinating contenders. On a strict line through HURRICANE LANE, you'd favour ADAYAR but I'm not convinced.

Favourite is LOVE at 6/4 but she has to give 8lbs to the younger colts and this is a real test. With SNOWFALL in the rear mirror, you'd want to see her winning this to establish her Arc credentials.

It's hard to think a French Derby winner, Saudi Cup winner and Dubai World Cup winner is at 8/1 but that's the price for MISHRIFF.  I had hoped for better at Sandown in all honesty but this better ground and a little further should suit. 

The Hardwicke winner WONDERFUL TONIGHT is 14s but she will be praying for a lot of rain and it doesn't look likely. BROOME won the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud but even if the ground turns soft, WONDERFUL TONIGHT holds him on Ascot form. ADDEYBB is another who will need rain and without that h probably won't run.

MOGUL and JAPAN make up the numbers - brothers as they are, neither has really done much this year though JAPAN won a Group 3 last week.

We could easily end up with just 4-5 runners but a quality line up.

The impressive Hampton Court MOHAAFETH is one of just six entries for the Group 2 York Stakes at (not surprisingly) York over 2050m. He's 6/5 to see off a field which includes ARMORY, BANGKOK and JUAN ELCANO to name but three.

More as the week develops. 

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Big news today - PALACE PIER will miss next week's Sussex Stakes at Goodwood with a blood disorder he picked up soon after his Queen Anne win at Ascot.

He will go straight to the Marois at Deauville on August 15th. In his absence, St James's Palace winner POETIC FLARE is going to be very short (perhaps 2/5).

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From the weekend  ,I was quite impressed with  Gubbass (having only its 2nd start) in the roughly  run sales sprint.Looks a half decent animal and  a top training effort by the Richard Hannon team as the horse was 90 odd days between runs.

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2 hours ago, Swoopa said:

From the weekend  ,I was quite impressed with  Gubbass (having only its 2nd start) in the roughly  run sales sprint.Looks a half decent animal and  a top training effort by the Richard Hannon team as the horse was 90 odd days between runs.

Yes,  it was a strong performance in what you rightly say was a rough old race (twenty two juveniles of varying ability over a straight 1000m for a £200k pot will do that).

On the form, there were really only three likely winners - GUBBASS and both CHIPOTLE and VINTAGE CLARETS but the latter two got in each other's way racing up the unfavoured stands rail while GUBBASS got the run up the centre which is often favoured at Newbury (not sure why).

Winner is by Mehmas (second season stallion. He raced only as a juvenile in 2014 winning two Group 2 races) out of an unraced Lope de Vega mare. I'm to be convinced by Mehmas - he's thrown a number of good juveniles but his best first season horse, Middle Park winner SUPREMACY, has done nothing this year.  He also had the third in that race, MINZAAL, who hasn't run while his third best has been gelded so I don't know. I wonder if he'll turn out a sire of precocious juveniles who don't train on.

GUBBASS is in the Gimcrack over 1200m which will be much more of a test.

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https://www.racenet.com.au/news/highclass-former-ballydoyle-galloper-set-to-debut-at-rosehill-20210721

He was known as FORT MYERS in the UK. Decent 2-y-o but didn't really go on last year - well behind in both the Irish 2000 Guineas and the Jockey Club. Final race saw him third to PATRICK SARSFIELD in the Meld leaving him on 107.

He's by War Front out of a Galileo mare who won the Irish 1000 Guineas in 2014 and ran okay in the English and Irish Oaks though out of the money. He's the dam's second foal - the full sister was moderate.  It looks like they are looking for decent ground but starting over 1300m will be interesting.

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