Newmarket’s July Festival is one of Flat racing’s summer highlights.
There are a number of intriguing contests across the three days and our racing expert is back with his views on the key renewals.
Take a look at their best bets for the Festival here.
Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (Thursday)
Charlie Appleby’s four-year-old has only been seen once since that famous win due to injury – a respectable fifth in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. He stumbled out of stalls that day and was forced to come wide when rounding the final bend, two factors which probably cost him any chance of winning the race. He’s entitled to come on from that, but he’s plenty short enough and he has to be opposed.
In fact, I’m pretty keen on the chances of Mirage Dancer here given he finished almost five lengths ahead of Masar at Ascot last time. Sir Michael Stoute’s five-year-old is a perennial winner at Group 3 and Listed level, but has fallen short when upped in class, but I have a feeling this could be the day he breaks through.
He looked to be absolutely cruising two furlongs out in the Hardwicke and given the fact he’s racing against inferior opposition here, I can’t quite understand why he’s not favourite. If Masar has retained his ability from last season, then he’ll take a fair amount of beating, but as you’re taking that fact on trust, he’s a very skinny price.
As such, Mirage Dancer is a confident selection to give Stoute a record-extending 10th win in the race at 2/1.
Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (Friday)
My other selection at Newmarket is Daahyeh in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes.
The two-year-old filly has won both her starts so far and I was particularly impressed with her victory in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot. The clues were there given she finished almost two lengths clear of the Queen Mary winner Raffle Prize on her debut at Newmarket.
I thought there was plenty more left in the tank at the line and I expect her to confirm the form with the likes of Celtic Beauty and Raffle Prize. She looks the bet at 7/4.