Darley July Cup Stakes Betting Tips & Predictions – Newmarket, Saturday 13th July 2019

Newmarket’s excellent July Meeting draws to a close on Saturday, and good as the action is on the opening two days, the track really saves the best until last with this highly coveted Group 1 contest. One of the most prestigious six furlong events in the world, the race has been taken by the European Champion sprinter twice in the past four years and looks set to serve up a cracker once again.

There is plenty of speed across the age ranges on display this year, and whilst it’s hard to rule out the older performers, we fancy this may go the same way as it did 12 months ago and fall to a three year old from the yard of Aidan O’Brien.

Top Tips

Fairyland each way @ 14/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

Six furlongs is the trip for this Group 1 contest offering a total of £500,000 in prize money and it is expected to be run on good to firm ground on the day.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good to Firm 6f Group 1 £500,000 12 Runners 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

One of the main attractions of this race is the clash of the generations it represents. With the rejigging of the Royal Ascot sprints, this is really the first time the three year olds get to lock horns with their elders over this trip at the top level. The youngsters have held their own with four wins in the past decade. No horse older than five has won the race in this time.

The market has proven to be a pretty good guide here with only two of the past 10 winners priced at bigger than 8/1. Blindly backing the favourite in the past decade would have resulted in four wins and a level stakes profit of 3.25pts.

2018 U S Navy Flag 8/1 Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore
2017 Harry Angel 9/2 Clive Cox Adam Kirby
2016 Limato 9/2 Henry Candy Harry Bentley
2015 Muhaarar 2/1 Charles Hills Paul Hanagan
2014 Slade Power 7/4 Edward Lynam Wayne Lordan

Analysis: Aidan To Land The Prize

Always a real firecracker of a sprint contest, the 2019 edition looks to be well up to scratch, with live contenders from across the age range and from both sexes, and from both sides of the Irish Sea.

Advertise’s Claims Are Clear

This has been a happy hunting ground for the three year olds of late, with three of the past four renewals falling to a runner from the youngest permitted age group. Five three year olds go to post in 2019, headed by this season’s Commonwealth Cup hero, Advertise.

Sent into the current season well fancied in some quarters for the 2000 Guineas, that mile trip proved beyond this Martyn Meade runner in the end, and the decision was made to revert him back to sprinting. It proved a shrewd move as he came home 1½l too good for the field in that Commonwealth Cup contest last time out. That was a pretty impressive performance, and a repeat may well make him tough to beat, particularly as he receives 6lbs from his older rivals.

Stoute Dreaming Of Win Number Four

With three previous wins in the race, Sir Michael Stoute lies behind only Aidan O’Brien amongst the trainers on show this year. It’s been a long time since the Newmarket handler has been sighted in the winner’s enclosure at the end of this though, with the most recent of those three triumphs coming with the success of Ajdal back in 1987.

There will be plenty of punters willing to bet that Stoute grabs a fourth success in this year’s renewal though, as he sends his five year old Diamond Jubilee runner up, Dream Of Dreams into battle. Finding only the brilliant Blue Point too good in that Royal Ascot showpiece, he likely would have been in front in another stride or two, and with the prospect that conditions may not be quite so quick here – and with no Blue Point to contend with – he has every chance of going one better. The fact he was beaten over 10 lengths on his only previous outing over course and distance is however a little off-putting.

Fairy Best Of The Fillies?

Three fillies line up this year, and whilst it has often proven tough for the fairer sex to beat the boys in this, all three undoubtedly look well worth their place in the line-up. So Perfect possibly has the most to prove of the trio, but even she is a dual Group 3 winner at the trip, and finished a narrow second to Advertise in last season’s Phoenix Stakes. Pretty Pollyanna makes more appeal having finished second in the Irish 1000 Guineas and landed a Group 1 over this distance at Deauville last season.

The best of the female contenders for our money though is Aidan O’Brien’s Fairyland. Being by Kodiac, it was always likely that the mile trip in the 1000 Guineas would prove beyond her, and as such she ran a cracker to be beaten just over two lengths into fifth. Going back to her juvenile campaign, she was a four-time winner at this distance – including in a Group 1 on the Rowley Mile track, with Pretty Pollyanna well beaten off in fourth. She didn’t quite have the pace to live with Blue Point in the King’s Stand Stakes last time out, but was staying on well at the line and this step up from 5f to 6f ought to suit her well.

Final Verdict: Fairyland Each Way

It’s hard to argue with Advertise’s status as favourite, but dangers abound here, and he doesn’t represent much in the way of value at the prices for our money. As such we prefer an each way punt in this, and it’s the O’Brien filly Fairyland who will be carrying our cash. This one’s juvenile form stacks up very well, and on the back of that fine effort in the King’s Stand, she is fancied to at least hit the frame.


Grandstands by the Winning Line at Newmarket's July Course

Newmarket’s three-day July Meeting is always one of the real summertime treats for racing fans, with each of the days having its high points in terms of a feature contest or two. For many though, this meeting really reaches its climax on the closing Saturday, with the full throttle six furlong contest that is the July Cup.

It is a Group 1 event open to all runners aged three and older, be they fillies, mares, geldings or colts. The race offers the opportunity to determine who really is the fastest of them all.

Offering excellent prize money – rising to £500,000 in 2018 – the contest never fails to attract the best of the best, and has been won by many a sprinting superstar over the years, including the likes of Abernant, Oasis Dream and Muhaarar.

Challenge Cup

Afforded Group 2 status upon the introduction of the modern classification system in 1971, it took only seven years for the race to recognised for what it was: one of the classiest sprint contests of the season. Upgraded to a Group 1 in 1978, it has remained that way ever since.

Not only is the July Cup one of the top domestic sprint events, it’s inclusion in the Global Sprint Challenge initiative recognises it as one of the very best races of its type run anywhere in the world.

Global Sprint Challenge Races

Month Race Country Course
February Lightening Stakes Australia Flemington
March Takamatsunomiya Kinen Japan Chukyo
March Al Quoz Sprint Dubai Meydan
April The Chairman's Sprint Prize Hong Kong Sha Tin
June King's Stand Stakes United Kingdom Ascot
June Diamond Jubilee Stakes United Kingdom Ascot
July July Cup United Kingdom Newmarket (July Course)
September Sprinters Stakes Japan Nakayama
November VRC Sprint Classic Australia Flemington
December Hong Kong Sprint Hong Kong Sha Tin

With top tier sprint contests from England, Australia, Japan and Singapore included in the challenge – and a huge bonus on offer for winning races in multiple jurisdictions – there’s plenty of incentive for the owners of the top sprinting talent in the world to come together and lock horns.

Youth Holds the Edge

Chart Showing the Ages of July Cup Winners Between 1939 and 2018

Whilst this race annually attracts runners of both sexes, and from the classic generation and above, they don’t quite compete on even playing field. The fillies and mares receive a three pound allowance, whilst the older runners concede six pounds to their younger rivals. As such the race – and almost all of the open-age races – does have its detractors as to how valuable it is in deciding who actually the quickest horse is, with many believing the younger performers in particular are offered an unfair advantage.

A look at the above chart – which shows the breakdown of winners by age since 1939 – would certainly seem to bear that theory out, with the three year olds having by far the biggest slice of the pie.

It certainly seems relatively safe to draw a line through any runner older than five years of age, with 2006 winner Les Arcs, being the only six year old to come home in front in the past eighty years (as of 2018).

All-Time Greats Lead The Way

Chart Showing the Trainers with the Most July Cup Victories

The man who is viewed by many as the greatest trainer in the history of the game shares top billing in the all-time list here, as the legendary Vincent O’Brien sits alongside Charles Morton on five wins in the race. Whilst O’Brien achieved his success with five different horses, Morton sent out both Sunridge and Spanish Prince to claim top spot on two separate occasions. Having also won the race for his previous handler, it is the aforementioned, Sunridge, who is the only three-time winner of this since they first went under starters orders back in 1876.

Aidan O’Brien is perhaps more associated with runners over a mile and further, but his record with sprinters certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. Already sitting on four wins, and with a good few years likely left ahead of him, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him overhaul his namesake to become the outright top trainer here.

Whilst Morton and Vincent O’Brien are in danger of being caught at the top of the trainer’s tree, it may be quite some time before anyone gets anywhere the all-time most successful jockey in the race. That man is of course Lester Piggott, who is way out in front on his own with a phenomenal 10 wins to his name.

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