Limato veers across the course but leads in the July Cup Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Limato veers across the course but wins the Darley July Cup
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse


Newmarket Racecourses welcomed a crowd of 14,896 through the gates for Darley July Cup Day, an increase on both 2014 and 2015.

That meant 2016 produced yet another record-breaking Moët & Chandon July Festival, with 39,833 people attending over the three days

Those on hand for the Group 1 feature, the Darley July Cup (British Champions Series and Global Sprint Challenge) were treated to an enthralling finish, as the Henry Candy-trained 9/2 favourite Limato powered up the hill to score by two lengths from Suedois.

Victory gave Harry Bentley his first Group One success and he capped a double on the afternoon when guiding Gold Faith to success in the concluding Longines Irish Champions Weekend Handicap Stakes for Ralph Beckett.

Marco Botti landed the bet365 Bunbury Cup for the first time when saddling Golden Steps to victory, denying trainer Richard Fahey a fourth win in the race as Heaven’s Guest, third last year, went down by three-quarters of a length in a thrilling finish to the always competitive seven-furlong handicap.

A Godolphin-owned representative won the Group 2 bet365 Superlative Stakes for the second successive season as the Charlie Appleby-trained Boynton scored by three-quarters of a length from the well-backed War Decree. The victory also continued a memorable season for jockey Adam Kirby.

Trainer John Gosden was another in double form, taking the Group 2 bet365 Mile, as the Robert Havlin-ridden Von Blucher held off Godolphin duo Silent Attack and Hornsby. Gosden had earlier introduced a smart prospect in Dabyah, who took the Rossdales EBF Stallions Maiden Fillies’ Stakes in the hands of Frankie Dettori.

There were also plenty of smart outfits on display in the ‘Style Awards’ sponsored by The Spa at Bedford Lodge Hotel, which has proved a massive hit over the three days. The Best Dressed Couples competition attracted just under 400 entries and was won by Sue and Jason Grimble, who walked away with over £12,000 worth of prizes.

Amy Starkey, Regional Director, Jockey Club Racecourses East Region, said: “The final day of the Moët & Chandon July Festival was all we hoped it would be. The weather was good for all three days of the Festival and the racing was top quality.

“It is great that we saw record crowds over the entire Festival, with all three days showing an increase on the previous year and we have ambitions to grow the meeting further.

“The raceday experience continues to get better and it is all thanks to the hard work that the team have put in, in the lead up and during the Festival.

“We would obviously like to thank all of our sponsors too, it has been fantastic to work with them again and we are extremely grateful for their continued support.

“The ‘Style Awards’ was once again a huge hit. Over the three days, £30,000 in prizes, generously donated by sponsors and partners, were won. We saw record entries for the competitions, which all added to the occasion.

“The racing has also been everything we had hoped. We have seen some top-class Group winners and we have also seen some impressive youngsters, whose connections will no doubt be looking to return for our strong two-year-old programme in the Autumn.

“The 350th year anniversary celebrations were particularly fitting to launch the Festival, with the special running of the Newmarket Town Plate and the unveiling of the specially commissioned statue of King Charles II.”