Horse racing betting tips for Day 1 of Newmarket’s July Festival on Thursday.
The July Festival at Newmarket gets underway on Thursday with the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes ably supported by a number of competitive contests. The recent record of trainers in the race looks to be a worthwhile betting angle and my best bets certainly reflect this.
My first best bet comes in the opening contest where a strong group of three year-olds will be looking to claim their first victory in Pattern company.
On official figures the field is headed by both Bunker and Odeon. These two horses have now met on two previous occasions in both the Dante Stakes at York and the King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot. Although the James Given representative claimed the first of the two duals, Bunker took advantage of the step-up in trip and was successful in overturning the form.
However, both fell foul of the John Gosden trained Eagle Top, a hugely progressive horse who claimed that Group 2 success on only his third racecourse appearance. Its interesting to note that the trainer looks to repeat the feat here with another lightly raced three year-old, FOREVER NOW (4/1 William Hill). After making his first appearance over an inadequate eight furlongs he clearly was seen to better effect running over further and is bred to relish the 1m5f trip on offer. Although far less experienced than most of his rivals, his latest performance at Doncaster, winning by eight lengths, emphasised his inherent class and he should continue on his upward curve.
Gosden has won the last three renewal’s of the Bahrain Trophy and in Forever Now he will be hoping to claim a fourth consecutive prize. With the recent successes of Eagle Top and Belle D’Or, both claiming Group prizes despite there relative inexperience, Gosden has shown once again why he is considered to be one of the best trainers in the land. By Galileo out of a Darshaan mare, the 13 furlongs should well be in this horse’s compass and he looks to have everything in place to run a solid race.
The Group 2 Princess Of Wales’ Stakes is a race that has been dominated by Sir Michael Stoute in recent seasons (five victories since 2005) and that favourable trend looks set to continue.
German sires are producing solid Group class progeny and ARAB SPRING (13/8 SkyBet) looks likely to be another set to hit the high notes. Unbeaten so far this season, this horse has notched up three victories in handicap company, culminating in claiming the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot despite burdened with top weight in a competitive 18 runner field. He looks open to plenty of improvement and, as the selection of Ryan Moore, he is likely to run very well.
His biggest danger could well come from his stablemate – Hillstar. Although previously placed in Group 1 company in last season’s King George at Ascot, this horse has struggled to really break into the top ranks of middle distance racing. Hold up tactics put pay to his chances on his latest start in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and he will need to be ridden closer to the pace here in order to trouble the principles.
Interestingly, both of Stoute’s entrants ran on the same day at Royal Ascot, over the same distance and ground, and achieved broadly similar times. What’s noteworthy though is that Arab Spring carried 9lbs extra which equates to around four and half lengths difference in handicap terms. Off level weights, and with a more resolute and progressive attitude, Moore’s selection represents my NAP and should offer favourite backers a solid option on day 1 of Newmarket’s July Festival.
1.40 – FOREVER NOW (WIN) (4/1 William Hill)
2.40 – ARAB SPRING (WIN)(NAP) (13/8 SkyBet)
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