Get ready, everyone! One of the most prestigious race meets in England is underway, that being the Newmarket July meeting at Newmarket racecourse. The second card of the three-day meet features seven exceptional races full of talented horses and competitive fields, including a trio of major stakes races. Here are some thoughts on each race!
Race 1: Price Bailey EBF Stallions Fillies’ Handicap
7 furlongs for 3yo fillies
Godolphin Racing appears to have a strong chance to win this race with Wordcraft, a Charlie Appleby-trained filly that has two straight seven-furlong races at Newmarket and Kempton. Today, she will be carrying eight pounds less than in her last start and will be getting a weight break from most of her rivals, and while this is a quality field that also includes the two-time Newmarket winner Angel Vision, I think Wordcraft looks like a solid choice to win the opening race of the second Newmarket card.
Race 2: Duchess of Cambridge Stakes (Eng-II)
6 furlongs for 2yo fillies
On paper, this races looks like a showdown between Richard Hannon’s unbeaten filly Illuminate–who won the Albany Stakes (Eng-III) at Royal Ascot in impressive fashion–and Michael Dods’ once-beaten filly Easton Angel, who won two straight races before finishing second in the Queen Mary Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot. Of the pair, I narrowly prefer Easton Angel, although this should be a very close race. If you’re looking for a longshot, the Godolphin filly Rah Rah won her first two starts in sharp fashion before finishing tenth in the Queen Mary, and while she’ll need to take a step forward to contend in the Duchess of Cambridge, I think she has a live chance to hit the board at a good price.
Race 3: QIPCO Falmouth Stakes (Eng-I)
8 furlongs for 3yo+ fillies & mares
A top-notch field of fillies is set to contest this one-mile race, with Lucida the favorite to win. Trained by Jim Bolger, the daughter of Shamardal was beaten just three-quarters of a length when second in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas (Eng-I) two starts back, and last time out, she was beaten by that same margin when third in the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot. As a three-year-old, she’ll get a nine-pound weight break from her elder rivals, which should swing things in her favor and make her difficult to beat.
Among the older fillies, Integral may have run poorly last time out in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot, but had previously been beaten just 1 1/4 lengths when running against colts in the Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) at Newbury. A two-time group I winner (and the winner of this race last year), Integral has never run poorly in four starts at Newmarket, and returning to her favorite track should yield an improved performance. Amazing Maria, winner of the Duke of Cambridge, Avenir Certain, a group I winner that ran in the Arc de Triomphe last year, and Euro Charline, who won the 2014 Beverly D. at Arlington, are among the other major contenders.
Race 4: Betfred Mobile (Heritage Handicap)
6 furlongs for 3yos
A field of twenty will contest this six-furlong handicap, and finding the winner could be about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack. In that case, perhaps it’s wisest to go with Magical Memory, who is among the favorites after running third in a six-furlong handicap at York last time out. A very consistent runner, Magical Memory is trained by Charles Hills and will have Ryan Moore in the saddle, and figures to have as good a chance as any to win the race. Best of all, given the size of the field, he’s bound to offer fairly good odds.
Race 5: Weatherbys EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes
7 furlongs for 2yo colts & geldings
Twelve of the fourteen runners in this maiden race are first-time starters, so good luck finding the winner! :) John Gosden’s Von Blucher was beaten just a neck in his lone start to date, finishing second in a seven-furlong maiden race at Sandown, and figures to be one the favorites strictly because of his proven form. Among the first-time starters, names to keep an eye on include the Godolphin runner Lovell and Richard Hannon’s Jarir, who will have Frankie Dettori in the saddle.
Race 6: Take the Abellio Greater Anglia Train Handicap
7 furlongs for 3yo+
The sixth race on the card is a wide-open seven-furlong handicap with nineteen starters, and again, it looks like a tough one to handicap. Tiger Jim is well-regarded winning a six-furlong handicap at Ayr last time out and placing in the top four in all twelve of his starts to date, an impressive feat given the number of horses he has been running against! With only 126 pounds on his back, he’ll be receiving weight from twelve of his rivals, and should be right in the mix at the finish.
Race 7: Arrowpak International Movers Handicap
8 furlongs for 3yo+
Tizlove Regardless brings great form into this one-mile handicap, having run second in three straight races before scoring by a length in a one-mile handicap at Newmarket last time out. Under thee conditions of this race, the Mark Johnston-trained runner gets into the race with just 129 pounds, the second-lowest assignment of the nine starters, which should give him every chance at victory. Express Himself is the highweight with 138 pounds on his back, but has also been very consistent as of late and will have Ryan Moore in the saddle and should run well.