The 2016 Moet & Chandon July Festival comes to its conclusion at Newmarket on Saturday, with the Group 1 Darley July Cup the highlight on another competitive card.

The Group 2 bet365 Superlative Stakes, formerly known as the Bernard van Cutsem Stakes, over seven furlongs, is often the breeding ground for smart future performers and boasts an impressive list of past winners, including: Be My Chief, Dr Devious, Dubawi and Olympic Glory.

Godolphin has enjoyed plenty of juvenile success this season and Bin Battuta comes into this race unbeaten in his only start. The Saeed bin Suroor trained son of Dubawi landed a Windsor contest by an impressive 3 ¼ lengths from Sakurajima in early June.

Boynton comes into this race completely unexposed, having won his only start. The Charlie Appleby trained son of More Than Ready beat subsequent winner Mutawatheb by a neck in a Goodwood maiden over 6 furlongs in early June.

Cunco (right) beats Isomer at Newbury Image by www.racehorsephotos.co.uk

Cunco (right) beats Isomer at Newbury
Image by www.racehorsephotos.co.uk

Cunco caused quite a stir when he became the first Frankel offspring to make the racecourse; and running out an impressive winner to boot. The John Gosden trained colt was fractious and did a lot wrong at Newbury in mid-May, but quickened really well in the latter stages to beat Isomer by ¾ of a length. He then headed to Royal Ascot for the Listed Chesham Stakes, finishing 1 ½ lengths third of 13 to Churchill.

 

Hyperfocus made a winning introduction when landing a Leicester contest in late April by an impressive 5 lengths from Billy’s Boots. The Hugo Palmer trained son of Intense Focus stepped up to 6 furlongs for his next start in the Listed Woodcote Stakes at Epsom Downs, finishing 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 6 to Legendary Lunch. He got back to winnings ways last time out at Newcastle, taking a minor novice contest by a head from Six Strings in late June. He now steps up to 7 furlongs for the first time.

 

Monks Stand comes into this contest as one of the more experienced horses, having run well on all four starts to date and having shown progression at the same time. The Jeremy Noseda trained son of More Than Ready was placed on his first two starts before beating Poet’s Society by 2 lengths in a novice contest at Lingfield Park in mid-May. Ten days later he made it back to back victories when landing a similar type of race at Brighton, beating Princess Holly by 2 ¾ lengths. He then headed to Royal Ascot for the Group 2 Coventry Stakes, finishing 12 ½ lengths 7th of 18 to Caravaggio and now steps up in distance.

Mr Scaramaga takes a step up in trip after three solid efforts to date. The Richard Hannon trained son of Sir Percy ran 6 lengths fourth of 7 to Awesome Allan on his debut at Windsor in April. A month later he got off the mark when stepping up to 6 furlongs, beating Vinnievanbaileys by a neck at Brighton. He dropped back down to 5 furlongs at Chelmsford at the start of June and came home 2 ½ lengths third of 6 to Mistime. Later that month he took a marked step up to 7 furlongs for the Listed Chesham Stakes, running a solid race to finish 2 lengths fourth of 13 to Churchill.

 

South Seas looked a really exciting prospect as he annihilated his rivals on his only start to date. The Andrew Balding trained son of Lope De Vega beat Winning Ways by 8 lengths at Windsor in late June and now steps up an extra furlong in trip.

Spirit Of Sarwan ran a reasonable race when fifth of 11 to Sayesse on debut at Newmarket in early May. The Julia Feilden trained son of Elzaam got off the mark next time out, landing a Brighton contest in early June by a length from Bayston Hill. A couple of weeks later he stepped up to 7 ½ furlongs at Beverley and ran well to finish ¾ of a length second of 8 to Proud Archi. He takes a big step up in class here.

War Decree is another taking a huge step up in class, although he looked very exciting on debut. The Aidan O’Brien trained son of War Front beat Orderofthegarter by 1 ½ lengths in a Leopardstown maiden in early June. He now steps up in class and distance.

White Tower looked a useful recruit when winning on his racecourse debut. The Mark Johnston trained son of Cape Cross beat Zamjar by ¾ of a length in a Ripon contest in mid-June and now steps up in grade and trip.

 

The big race of the day is the Group 1 Darley July Cup over six furlongs, one of the big sprints of the entire season.

Arod impressed in the Diomed Stakes at Epsom and when second in the Sussex Stakes Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Arod drops in trip
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Arod is a fascinating tunner who takes a huge drop in distance here, as he looks for better ground. He served notice on his talent over a mile, when a close third to Night Of Thunder in last year’s Group 1 Lockinge Stakes. The Peter Chapple-Hyam 5 year old was beaten just a length that day and confirmed that run to be solid form as he landed this race by 2 lengths from Custom Cut in early June. Arod continued his progression in July when landing the Group 2 Summer Mile Stakes with a classy performance, defeating Lightning Spear by 1 ½ lengths at Ascot. At the end of that month he ran a belter in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes, finishing ½ a length second of 8 to Solow. Arod then headed to Australia for two disappointing starts last autumn. He returned to action and appeared to need the run when finishing 2 lengths third of 8 to GM Hopkins in a Listed race at Ascot in late April. He has missed a number of engagements over a mile since then due to rain-softened ground and now takes his chance as a sprinter.

Cotai Glory was a very speedy juvenile Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecourse

Cotai Glory was a very speedy juvenile
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Longchamp Racecourse

Cotai Glory was a brilliantly fast juvenile in 2014, but had a chequered campaign last season and was not seen out until July. The Charlie Hills trained 4 year old ran ½ a length third of 12 to Out Do on his return in a Listed race at York and later that month finished 2 ¾ lengths fifth of 15 to Muthmir in Goodwood’s Group 2 King George Stakes. He disappointed in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes in August but the following month landed the Listed Scarborough Stakes at Doncaster, beating Kingsgate Native by a length. He returned to action in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket, finishing 4 ½ lengths 12th of 21 to Profitable. In May he headed to Haydock Park for a Listed sprint and ran well to finish 1 ½ lengths second of 9 to Take Cover. The following month he came back to his best form to finish an excellent ¼ of a length second of 17 to Profitable in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. He now steps up to six furlongs and with the uphill finish, his stamina will be fully tested.

Danzeno goes to post at Newmarket Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Danzeno goes to post at Newmarket
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Danzeno showed promise as a juvenile and made a winning start to 2014 when landing a Newmarket handicap in April of that year. Michael Appleby’s 5 year old won the 2014 Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle and last year made his seasonal bow in the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock Park in late May, finishing a promising 1 ¾ lengths fourth of 11 to Pearl Secret. He ran well when attempting to defend his Chipchase Stakes crown at Newcastle in late June, eventually finishing ½ a length third of 8 to Aeolus. Danzeno then stepped up into Group 1 grade for the first time, in the July Cup at Newmarket. In the event, he ran a belter to finish 2 ¼ lengths fifth of 14 behind Muhaarar. In September he finished 5 lengths 6th to Twilight Son in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park and later that month he got back to winning ways at Musselburgh with a 2 ½ lengths defeat of Red Baron. He ran one more time at Ascot in October, coming home 3 ½ lengths third to Muhaarar. He ran a cracker on his seasonal return when 1 ½ lengths third of 12 to Magical Memory in the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes in mid-May. He again ran well in a rain storm when finishing ¼ of a length second of 11 to Don’t Touch in the Listed Cathedral Stakes at Salisbury, in early June.

Unraced at two, Don’t Touch went from strength to strength last year and comes into this contest having lost his unbeaten record. The Richard Fahey trained 4 year old son of Dutch Art won three minor contests last summer before landing the prestigious Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon in August, beating Kimberella by a head. A month later he made it five from five when beating Poyle Vinnie by ½ a length in the Ayr Gold Cup. He made a successful return in a conditions race at Haydock Park in early May, beating Baccarat by 1 ¼ lengths. His run of six wins was snapped when he finished 1 ¼ lengths fifth of 7 behind Mobsta in the Group 2 Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh in late May. A couple of weeks later though, he bounced back to form when landing the Listed Cathedral Stakes at Salisbury by ¼ of a length from Danzeno and he now gets his chance at Group 1 glory.

Eastern Impact proved one of the most improved horses of the year in 2015, graduating from handicaps into a pattern horse who ran a brilliant third in the July Cup. The Richard Fahey trained 5 year old was twice successful at Newmarket in 2014 and made a winning return at the Rowley Mile in early May when landing a 22-runner handicap by a short head from Huntsmans Close. He then headed to Windsor for a crack at Listed company in early June, finishing a well beaten 10 lengths seventh of 12 to Tropics. Eastern Impact stepped up in grade for the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle in late June, running a respectable race to finish one length fourth of 8 to Aeolus. That was a fair effort, but he took a huge leap in class when contested the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket, finishing a fantastic 1 ½ lengths third of 14 to Muhaarar and Tropics. In early August he landed a Listed contest at Chester, beating Canny Kool by ¾ of a length before running 6 ¼ lengths 7th of 15 to Twilight Son in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park in early September. A month later he won the Group 3 Bengough Stakes by a neck from Naadirr but was well beaten behind Muhaarar on his final start of a busy campaign. Eastern Impact has been very lightly campaigned this year and ran a solid race to finish 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 12 to Magical Memory in the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes in mid-May, on his only start to date.

Goken Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Goken
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Goken was a smart juvenile in France two years ago and last May landed a Group 3 contest. After running 8th of 18 to Muhaarar in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot last June, the 4 year old disappointed behind Muthmir in the Group 2 King George Stakes last July. He then moved to the stable of Kevin Ryan, running fantastically well to land a Listed Lingfield Park race last November, beating Jamesie by 1 ½ lengths. He was not seen out again until contesting the All-Weather Championships Sprint and running a super race to finish 3 lengths third of 12 to Alben Star on Good Friday. A month later he headed to Newmarket for the Group 3 Palace House Stakes, finishing 7 ½ lengths 15th of 21 to Profitable. In May he headed to the Knavesmire for the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes, finishing 10 ½ lengths 9th of 12 to Magical Memory. He ran a lot better than that in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, coming home 1 ¼ lengths third of 17 behind Profitable.

Jungle Cat Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Jungle Cat
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Jungle Cat was a very useful juvenile but after a truncated 3 year old career, has been in good form in Meydan. The Charlie Appleby trained 4 year old landed a Meydan handicap after a 6 month break by 3 ¾ lengths from Ashaad in January. In early March he stepped up to Group 3 level and ran well to finish a nose second of 11 to Fityaan. Towards the end of that month he ran a superb race in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint, coming home 1 ¾ lengths fourth of 13 to Buffering. He returned to Europe and ran a belter in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket in late April, finishing ½ a length second of 21 to Profitable. He was again behind that horse when running well in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, finishing 1 ½ lengths fourth of 17.

Limato remains an exciting horse and connections drop him back down to sprinting distance as he finally gets suitable ground conditions. The Henry Candy trained 4 year old son of Tagula won his first 5 races and returned at Ascot last year in the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes with his trainer having voiced concerns over his fitness. However, Limato powered to a 1 ½ lengths success from the filly Tendu and Adaay, looking as good as ever as he extended his record to five from five. That record was toppled at Haydock Park in late May as he could never quite get on terms with old rival Adaay, finishing a length second. He then contested the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, running well to finish 3 ¾ lengths second to the top class Muhaarar. He became a frustrating horse for race goers, missing several engagements with late withdrawals on account of rain-softened ground and nearly 3 months later finally reappeared, this time over 7 furlongs for the first time, in the Group 2 Park Stakes at Doncaster. The wait was worthwhile as he brilliantly blitzed his rivals to win by 3 ¾ lengths from Markaz. His final start of 2015 came in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret when he made up lots of ground late on to finish 1 ¼ lengths second of 13 to Make Believe. Limato made his return on perhaps not ideal ground, in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last month. His first attempt at a mile was respectable, particularly given the stable form at the time, as he came home 2 ½ lengths fourth of 12. There could well be more to come.

Magical Memory wins from the late finishing Tupi and Mattmu (green) Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Magical Memory wins the Abernant Stakes from the late finishing Tupi and Mattmu (green)
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Magical Memory is a very interesting runner who appeared to be very progressive last season as he moved from handicapper to Group 1 performer. The Charlie Hills trained 4 year old grey son of Zebedee won just the once as a juvenile but has looked a smart sprinter in the making this term, running well behind Salt Island and then Twilight Son in Newmarket handicaps in the spring. He landed a Leicester handicap in late May, beating Mistrusting by 1 ¼ lengths and then ran well again to finish 2 ¼ lengths third of 16 to old rival Twilight Son in a valuable York handicap in mid-May. At Newmarket’s July Meeting, he was a hugely impressive winner of a valuable handicap, beating Roossey by 2 lengths but travelling so well, that one could call him the winner a long way out. He confirmed that improvement with a super victory in the Stewards’ Cup, beating Toofi by ¾ of a length in early August. A month later he ran a belter in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park, finishing ¾ of a length third of 15 to old rival Twilight Son. He returned to action as good as ever, landing the Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket in mid-April, beating Tupi by a neck. In mid-May he added the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes to his growing resume, beating Suedois by ½ a length. He ran well in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, but was arguably coming from just too far back ultimately, as he finished ½ a length fourth of 9 to his old nemesis Twilight Son.

Mongolian Saturday (far side) just holds off Lady Shipman in the Breeders' Cup Sprint Turf Copyright Breeders' Cup Ltd.

Mongolian Saturday (far side) just holds off Lady Shipman in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint Turf
Copyright Breeders’ Cup Ltd.

After some excellent second place finishes in 2015, Mongolian Saturday had his big moment when he landed the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint by a neck from Lady Shipman, at Keeneland, at the end of October. The Enebish Ganbat trained 5 year old was then 4 ½ lengths fifth of 13 behind Peniaphobia in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin, last December. He returned to Hong Kong in early May but was most disappointing as he came in 5 ¼ lengths 9th of 14 to Chautauqua in the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize. He then contested the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, but finishing a well beaten 5 ¼ lengths 9th of 17 to Profitable.

Profitable beats Cotai Glory in the King's Stand Stakes Image by www.healyracing.ie

Profitable beats Cotai Glory in the King’s Stand Stakes
Image by www.healyracing.ie

Profitable comes here as arguably the leading sprinter of the season so far and has been supplemented for this race as he bids to step up a furlong. The Clive Cox trained 4 year old son of Invincible Spirit was second 4 times and won his other start in his first 5 career runs, before running fifth to Royal Razalma in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket in October 2014. He was a well beaten fifth to Waady on his return at Sandown Park in April but the following month defeated Tendu by a neck in a Listed contest at York. Profitable showed plenty of speed in the Listed Scurry Stakes at Sandown Park in June, finishing 2 lengths second of 9 to his old rival Waady. Just 6 days later he arguably ran the best race of his career so far, finishing 5 ¼ lengths fifth of 18 to Muhaarar in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. He ran 10 lengths 19th of 19 to Mecca’s Angel in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in late August and rounded off his 2015 campaign by finishing 4 ¼ lengths fifth of 11 to Move In Time in a Longchamp Group 3 in September. He made a superb return when landing the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket in late April, beating Jungle Cat by ½ a length. The following month he won his first race at Group 2 level, when out-battling Mecca’s Angel by a neck in a slightly controversial finish to the Temple Stakes at Haydock Park, where he hung badly and arguably hampered his rival. However, he proved his victories had been no flash in the pan as he landed the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, beating Cotai Glory by a neck. To date, 14 of his 15 career starts have been over 5 furlongs and he ran 5 ¼ lengths fifth of 18 to the outstanding Muhaarar in last year’s Group 1 Commonwealth Cup on his only attempt at 6 furlongs. Of course he is in far better form and a year older now, but there is that slight question mark against his stamina.

Sole Power Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Sole Power
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Sole Power has long been a Group 1 winning performer but there have been signs over the past year that his powers may finally be on the slide. The in-form Edward Lynam’s 9 year old has been globetrotting once again. He has had two races in Dubai this spring, running a short neck third of 11 to Fityaan in early March and then disappointing in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint when 3 ¾ lengths 10th of 13 to Buffering. A month later he returned to action in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket, a race he had twice won before. This time though he finished 4 ¼ lengths 11th of 21 to Profitable. He has missed subsequent races on account of rain-softened ground and that doubt over his ability to see out the sixth furlong remains prevalent.

Suedois is a fascinating addition to the David O’Meara team for 2016 and has already shown huge promise. This 5 year old was successful three times in France last year, most notably when landing a Deauville Group 3 in late August by a neck from The Right Man, in very soft ground. He stepped up to 7 furlongs for the Group 1 Prix de la Foret on his final start, finishing 5 ½ lengths 8th of 13 to the outstanding Make Believe. He made his debut for O’Meara in the Listed Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster in early April and ran on strongly to finish a length second of 13 to Mobsta. In May he ran a belter in the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes, finishing ½ a length second of 12 to Magical Memory. He ran another terrific race in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, coming home ¾ of a length fifth of 9 to Twilight Son.

Twilight Son (green silks) gets up in a thrilling Diamond Jubilee Stakes Image by www.healyracing.ie

Twilight Son (green silks) gets up in a thrilling Diamond Jubilee Stakes
Image by www.healyracing.ie

Henry Candy always does well with his sprinters and last term was rewarded with Group 1 success thanks to Twilight Son. This 4 year old son of Kyllachy (who was also trained by Candy), won both his starts at two and made a big impression on his return, when landing a Newmarket handicap by 2 lengths from Desert Force back in early May. In mid-June he headed up to York for a valuable and competitive handicap, bursting through to beat Grandad’s World by 1 ½ lengths. His big victory came in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park in September, when he defeated Strath Burn by a short head. He carries a penalty for that success here. In October on softer ground he was second to Muhaarar. He returned to action in the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes in mid-May, coming home a respectable 4 ½ lengths fifth of 12 to Magical Memory. He returned to his best form in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, getting the better of a four-way blanket finish, to beat Gold-Fun by a neck.

Waady Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Waady
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Waady looked a useful juvenile when winning the second of two starts in 2014. John Gosden’s 4 year old son of Approve proved a hugely progressive colt last year, winning 4 of his 5 starts and progressing to pattern winner before bombing out in the Betfred Sprint Cup. He landed handicap wins at Nottingham and Sandown Park in April, but met with his only defeat of the year at Newbury the following month, when 4 ¾ lengths fourth of 12 behind Adaay and Limato in a Listed contest. In mid-June he got back to winning ways, defeating Profitable by 2 lengths in the Listed Scurry Stakes. He returned to the Esher track in early July and added the Group 3 Coral Charge by ½ a length from Wind Fire. Waady was not seen again until the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park in early September, when he tackled 6 furlongs and ran a disappointing 10 ½ lengths 13th of 15 to Twilight Son. He shaped well on his return when finishing ¾ of a length third of 21 to Profitable in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket in late April. A month later he ran well in the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock Park when beaten 2 ½ lengths into third by Profitable. He again put up a fine effort but found Profitable too good, when running 2 lengths fifth of 17 to that horse in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.

Airforce Blue lands the 2015 National Stakes Image by Alain Barr

Airforce Blue lands the 2015 National Stakes
Image by Alain Barr

Air Force Blue comes into this contest on a major retrieval mission, having completely flopped in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in late April and the Irish equivalent a month later. The Aidan O’Brien trained son of War Front swept all before him last season as he was crowned Europe’s Champion Two Year Old Colt, following victories in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes (by 2 lengths from Washington DC), National Stakes (by 3 lengths from Herald The Dawn) and the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, where he beat Massaat by 3 ¼ lengths. He showed plenty of speed and his only defeat in five starts came when he finished 2 lengths second of 17 to Buratino in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, last June. He avenged that defeat in the Phoenix Stakes and unusually for O’Brien, he made an early call to confirm Air Force Blue as his main Guineas protagonist. He went to Newmarket for the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas with seemingly impeccable credentials, although there were conceivable issues regarding whether he had trained on and improved, whether he would get luck in running and whether he stayed.  Whatever the reason, his 15 lengths 12th of 13 to Galileo Gold was a major disappointment and he was unable to improve on that run in the Irish 2,000 Guineas in late May at the Curragh, finishing a lack lustre 19 ½ lengths 7th of 8 to Awtaad. He was all set to drop down to this distance in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, but bypassed that race on account of the soft ground. He now drops down to six furlongs for the first time since his celebrated juvenile season.

Washington DC was one of the first juveniles to represent Aidan O’Brien on the track last year and made his mark with victory at Royal Ascot in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes, beating Areen by a head. He was seen just once more in 2015, when finishing a hugely respectable 2 lengths second to the season’s outstanding juvenile colt, Air Force Blue, in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in August. Washington DC made his comeback over 7 furlongs at Dundalk in a Listed race, beating Alphonsus by 2 ¼ lengths at the start of April. Towards the end of that month he returned to Ascot for the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes, but ended his race tamely, coming home 7 lengths 7th of 9 to Gifted Master. He showed that run to be all wrong when getting back to winning ways in a Listed race at Navan in mid-May, beating Diamond Fields by 2 ¼ lengths. A fortnight later he was put in his place by the filly Only Mine, running 2 ¾ lengths second of 7 in the Group 3 Lacken Stakes at Naas. He ran well and probably to the best of his form in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, finishing 1 ½ lengths third of 10 to Quiet Reflection and that suggests he has a bit to find here.

Quiet Reflection is clear of Washington DC in the Commonwealth Cup Image by www.healyracing.ie

Quiet Reflection is clear of Washington DC in the Commonwealth Cup
Image by www.healyracing.ie

Quiet Reflection comes into this contest as a prolific winner who has progressed from each race, right the way to Group 1 success at Royal Ascot. The Karl Burke trained daughter of Showcasing was a resounding 5 lengths winner of a Hamilton Park maiden in July and the following month was pitched in at the deep end, running with credit to finish 7 lengths fifth of 9 to Besharah in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York. In September she was dropped down to Listed company at Ayr and ran out a brilliant winner, beating Field Of Vision and 13 others by 4 lengths. A month later she headed to Newmarket for the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes and was again comfortably on top, beating Field Of Vision by 2 ½ lengths. She returned to action in the Group 3 Prix Sigy at Chantilly in early April, beating Jimmy Two Times by a head in heavy ground. Despite her impressive credentials, she was overlooked by many in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock Park, but stamped her class all over the race as she beat Donjuan Triumphant and several of these by 3 ¾ lengths. But the best was still to come, as she landed the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, taking advantage of the erratic course of Kachy to beat that colt by a length. She again receives plenty of weight as she bids to make it six wins on the bounce.

 

The bet365 Bunbury Cup over seven furlongs, has a long and proud history and looks as competitive as ever.

Buckstay was a winner twice last year over 7 furlongs, including a short head defeat of Gabriel’s Lad in an Ascot handicap last October. The Peter Chapple-Hyam trained 6 year old made a pleasing return to finish a length third of 26 to Flash Fire in the Victoria Cup at Ascot in early May. The following month he ran well in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot, coming home 3 ½ lengths fifth of 28 to Outback Traveller.

Flash Fire impressed at Sandown Park Image reproduced with the kind permission of Sandown Park

Flash Fire won the Victoria Cup
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Sandown Park

Flash Fire was successful at Sandown Park last summer and ran with credit on three occasions in Meydan over the winter. The Charlie Appleby trained 4 year old ran 8 ¾ lengths fifth of 15 behind Accession in a Newmarket handicap in mid-April, which tuned him up for the Victoria Cup at Ascot, early the next month. In the event he put up a terrific performance to beat Mutawathea by ¾ of a length. However, he then dropped down to six furlongs for the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot and ran poorly to finish a remote last of 28 behind Outback Traveller.

Heaven's Guest (seen winning the Bunbury Cup last year) landed the International Stakes at Ascot today Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Heaven’s Guest winning the Bunbury Cup in 2014
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Heaven’s Guest won this race in 2014 and finished a fine 1 ¼ lengths third to stable mate Rene Mathis in last year’s race. The Richard Fahey trained 6 year old landed the valuable International Stakes (Handicap) at Ascot in July of last year but then disappointed. He was a well beaten 16th behind Secret Brief in the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster in early April and 12 days later finished a disappointing 14 ½ lengths 9th of 15 to Accession in a Newmarket handicap. In early May he failed to shine in the Victoria Cup, coming home 12 lengths 21st of 26 to Flash Fire, but last time out he showed greatly improved form when 2 ¼ lengths second of 12 behind Jallota in a York handicap in late May.

Bossy Guest Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Bossy Guest
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Bossy Guest made his mark last spring when landing a valuable sales race at Newmarket and then finishing 3 ½ lengths fourth of 18 to Gleneagles in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. The Mick Channon trained 4 year old also ran well when 1 ¼ lengths third of 16 to Dutch Connection in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, but was a little disappointing when third to Tupi at Newmarket in July and later that month finished last of 8 to Solow in the Sussex Stakes. Bossy Guest ran poorly at York in August and was not seen out again last year. He reappeared in Meydan but ran down the field in three contests earlier this year and was a well beaten 6 lengths 7th of 9 to Mahsoob on his UK return in the Group 3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket in mid-April. In late May he contested a Listed race at Goodwood but again failed to make his mark, coming home 5 lengths 7th of 8 to Decorated Knight. The following month he dropped into handicap company for the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot and ran a reasonable race to finish 3 lengths 6th of 28 to Portage.

Mutawathea was successful twice at Kempton Park last year and whilst he has yet to win this term, has put in some solid runs. The Simon Crisford trained 5 year old placed twice at Lingfield Park earlier this year and last time out ran a belter to finish ¾ of a length second of 26 to Flash Fire in the Victoria Cup at Ascot in early May. However, he was disappointing in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot in June, finishing 5 ¼ lengths 11th of 28 to Outback Traveller.

Dinkum Diamond Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Dinkum Diamond
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Twice a Listed winner, Dinkum Diamond will need little introduction here and landed a Leicester contest last autumn by 1 ¾ lengths from Hillbilly Boy. The Henry Candy trained 8 year old was well beaten behind Accession in a Newmarket handicap in mid-April, but ran a lot better to finish 2 ½ lengths fourth of 26 to Flash Fire in Ascot’s Victoria Cup in early May. Later that month he ran well in the Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock Park, coming home 4 ¾ lengths fifth of 9 to Home Of The Brave. The following month he took his chance in the Wokingham Handicap, finishing 6 lengths 13th of 28 to Outback Traveller.

Tanzeel only runs a few times each year and makes a belated seasonal reappearance in this contest. The Charlie Hills trained 5 year old landed a York handicap by 2 lengths from Shore Step last July but the following month was a well beaten 9th of 14 behind Fadhayyil in a Listed contest at the same track. He ran poorly in the Ayr Gold Cup and was last seen finishing 16 lengths 15th of 17 behind Buckstay in an Ascot handicap in early October.

Emell won a Haydock Park handicap in May last year and also ran well when 4 lengths fifth of 26 behind Speculative Bid in the Victoria Cup at Ascot that May. The Richard Hannon trained 6 year old failed to make his mark in pattern contests but ran well to finish 1 ¾ lengths third of 8 to Windfast in a Newbury handicap in July. He ran poorly on his first two starts of 2016, but showed great improvement when finishing 2 lengths second of 14 to Can’t Change It in a Goodwood handicap in May. He then headed to the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, finishing 7 lengths 18th of 28 behind Portage.

Majestic Moon landed a Newmarket victory last June and later in the year beat Suzi’s Connoisseur by ½ a length in an Ascot handicap in September. The John Gallagher trained 6 year old was well beaten on his other starts and after showing promise on his return, when ¼ of a length second of 8 to Shyron at Lingfield Park in March, has failed to place in two more starts. Last time out he was a disappointing 4 ¼ lengths 9th of 26 to Flash Fire in the Victoria Cup at this track in early May. He then ran down the field in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot, finishing 10 ½ lengths 23rd of 28 to Outback Traveller.

Glorious Empire is a fascinating runner and returns to the UK after spending the spring of 2015 in Hong Kong. The Ed Walker trained 5 year old won his only start at two and in 2014 won three of his five races, including a ½ a length defeat of Johnno at this meeting. He was successful at Sha Tin in April 2015 but the following month finished last of 14 in a handicap and has not raced since. He has now returned to Walker’s stable and makes his return to action after a long break.

Accession heads Flaming Spear at Newmarket Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Accession heads Flaming Spear at Newmarket in April
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Accession won three times in 2014, but failed to win in eight attempts last year. However, The Charlie Fellowes trained 7 year old made a hugely impressive return when landing a Newmarket handicap by 6 lengths from Flaming Spear in soft ground in mid-April. The following month he finished 7 ½ lengths 14th of 26 to Flash Fire in the Victoria Cup at Ascot and he returned there in June for the Wokingham Handicap, disappointing as he finished 7 ½ lengths 16th of 28 to Outback Traveller.

Farlow on the whole proved most consistent during 2015, but has failed to shine so far during the present campaign. The Richard Fahey trained 8 year old landed a Doncaster handicap in August by a length from Bertiewhittle and ran 2 lengths fourth of 19 to Rene Mathis at Goodwood, later that month. His last run of 2015 saw him finish 1 ¼ lengths third of 21 to Withernsea at Doncaster in early November. He returned to Town Moor for the Lincoln Handicap in early April, coming home 9 ½ lengths 8th of 22 to Secret Brief. Twelve days later he headed to Newmarket for another competitive handicap but was a disappointing 11 lengths 7th of 15 to Accession.

B Fifty Two ran indifferently for much of last season, but ended his campaign on a high with a 1 ½ length defeat of Justice Well at Doncaster in October. The Charlie Hills trained 7 year old then shipped out to Meydan, but ran unplaced on two occasions, before returning here to run 2 lengths fourth of 13 to Clear Spring in a Newbury handicap in mid-May. A month later he ran poorly in the Wokingham Handicap and was a well beaten 26th of 28 to Outback Traveller.

Glory Awaits goes out for the Challenge Stakes Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Glory Awaits goes out for the Challenge Stakes
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Glory Awaits comes here off a remarkable weight considering he once finished second to Dawn Approach in the 2013 QIPCO 2,000 Guineas. The 6 year old won a valuable prize in Turkey in September 2014 and ran well to finish ½ a length second of 5 to Tullius at Doncaster in March 2015. However, since then the temperamental gelding has failed to place in any of his 9 starts, although he was sometimes highly-tried. He has now joined David Simcock and last time out ran his best race for a long time when finishing 2 lengths fourth of 19 to Always Smile at York in May. The following month he contested the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, coming home 4 ½ lengths 11th of 28 to Portage.

Golden Steps proved a useful horse last year, landing the Steward’s Cup Consolation race at Goodwood in August, but after running third in a valuable contest at Doha in February, has taken time to come to hand this year. The Marco Botti trained 5 year old ran 8 ¼ lengths 6th of 16 to Englishman in a Newmarket handicap at the start of May and was then 6 ¼ lengths 7th of 13 to Clear Spring at Newbury in mid-May. Last time out he showed improvement, coming home 1 ½ lengths third of 12 to Sound Investment in a Chester handicap in late May.

Perfect Pasture ran a disappointing race on his return at Doncaster in early April, but a few days later bounced back to his best form. The Michael Easterby trained 6 year old beat Ocean Sheridan by an impressive 4 lengths in a Pontefract handicap, but in late April disappointed at Goodwood, finishing 1 ¾ lengths 7th of 15 to Russian Realm. He then headed to the big Chester May meeting at the start of that month, but again ran poorly when 14 ½ lengths 10th of 11 to Hillbilly Boy. Last time out he ran much better in a competitive handicap at Epsom Downs, coming home 4 ¾ lengths third of 17 to Blaine.

Boomshackerlacker is a familiar name in these types of contests. The George Baker trained 6 year old then landed a Listed race at Vichy in France, beating Stillman by 1 ¼ lengths, but ran poorly at Goodwood in August. He failed to make too much impact in three races in Meydan over the winter and made a rusty return to action when finishing 8 lengths 19th of 28 to Portage in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot last month.

Kickboxer returned from a lengthy absence earlier this year and should now be coming back to peak fitness. The Saeed bin Suroor trained 5 year old was not seen out again last year after finishing 14 lengths 18th of 25 to Interception in the Wokingham Handicap last June. He shaped with promise on his return at Newbury in mid-May, finishing 3 ¼ lengths fifth of 13 to Clear Spring. In late June he headed to Windsor for another handicap, but was a disappointing 4 ¾ lengths 8th of 14 behind Growl.

Growl was a useful juvenile two years ago, when he finished second in the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes. However, the 4 year old failed to win last term and eventually joined Richard Fahey. This spring he has been in fine form and after running fourth in three successive competitive handicaps, landed his first success since his racecourse debut, when beating Pixeleen by a length at Nottingham in early June. He made it back to back victories last time out when defeating Rio Ronaldo by 2 lengths in a Windsor handicap towards the end of last month.

Squats was a smart juvenile in 2014, winning on three occasions, but proved a big disappointment last year, failing to place even once in his first six starts, before later running 1 ¼ lengths second of 10 to Moonraker in an Ascot handicap in August. The William Haggas trained 4 year old made a poor return to action at the same track in early May, finishing 21 lengths 23rd of 26 to Flash Fire in the Victoria Cup.