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Darley July Cup Preview: Horse-by-horse guide to Newmarket sprint

Nick Murphy | 13 July 2018

Coral preview Saturday’s 6f Group 1 contest

The Darley July Cup is the Saturday highlight of Newmarket’s three-day Festival, with 14 runners currently pencilled in to tackle the short, sharp 6f sprint following Thursday’s declarations. 

It looks a wide-open affair on the July Course. And the Coral News Team are on hand to guide you through the contenders with our horse-by-horse guide to the July Cup.

Blue Point

Provided one of the shocks of Royal Ascot when upending Lady Aurelia and Battaash in the King’s Stand Stakes. That was a career-best at one of his favourite tracks, though. Zero from two at Newmarket and his rivals won’t be as kind here over an extra furlong. To be taken on?

U S Navy Flag

Largely failed to convince in three runs over 1m and dropped back to 6f as a result. Won the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes in his last attempt over the distance and must rediscover that form at Newmarket, where’s he’s two from three. Can he handle the step back down in trip?

Eqtidaar

Coral ambassador Jim Crowley is booked to ride after guiding Sir Michael Stoute’s charge to a highly-impressive Commonwealth Cup success at Royal Ascot. Looked good that day despite wandering at the finish and could put in another big run here.

Sands of Mali

Enjoying a big year for Richard Fahey and recently finished second in the Commonwealth Cup. Travels well, fast and has beaten a number of his rivals for Saturday – one to watch.

Dreamfield

Came unstuck by a neck in the Wokingham Stakes after starting his career with three wins in a row for John Gosden. Has to find a stone to overcome Blue Point but looks worthy of his place in Group company.

Redkirk Warrior

Regular jockey Regan Bayliss is expected to return to the saddle after missing the Australian raider’s disappointing showing in the Commonwealth Cup. Dangerous to dismiss with two Group 1 wins under his belt.

Limato

Two hugely disappointing runs in the Lockinge Stakes and Queen Anne Stakes makes Limato difficult to like for Henry Candy. Reverts to sprinting with the race he won in 2016 but needs to show more on recent evidence.

Brando

Landed a Group 1 contest at Deauville last year and three from four at Newmarket. Has been running well since his April reappearance, and a 2½l fourth behind subsequent Diamond Jubilee Stakes winner Merchant Navy in the Greenlands Stakes stacks up as pretty decent form. Has the pace but can he be trusted?

Invincible Army

Enormously impressive as a two-year-old and has continued that upward trajectory save a disappointing ninth in the Commonwealth Cup. Not always at his best on good-to-firm ground so a drop of rain wouldn’t go amiss for the Sandy Lane Stakes runner-up.

Sioux Nation

Went off as the 11/4f in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot but could only trundle home in 16th. Needs to bring his Irish form (three Group wins) to the UK if he’s to challenge, but could be found out once again up against even stronger company on Saturday.

Sir Dancelot

David Elsworth-trained runner has come on well this season and won the Group 3 Criterion Stakes at Newmarket last time out. A 2l third behind Harry Angel at York in May suggests he has the raw pace to challenge. This is tougher, though.

Fleet Review

Yet to win at Group level but did finish runner-up in the Middle Park Stakes last year and Lacken Stakes two months ago. Beat Intelligence Cross by a nose in a Listed contest in June and subsequently 15th in the Commonwealth Cup.

Spirit of Valor

Colt won the Group 2 Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh last year but winless in five runs since. Soundly beaten twice at Newmarket and recently finished eighth of 12 in the Diamond Jubilee.

Intelligence Cross

First past the post three times in an 18-race career, with his last victory coming 10 months ago on yielding ground at Navan. Not won a Group prize since 2016 and beaten by 30l in the Diamond Jubilee.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing