2019 July Meeting review – Five beaten horses to follow after Newmarket
Our expert reflects on this year’s July Meeting and highlights five beaten horses worth following throughout the rest of the campaign.
Another tremendous July Meeting has come and gone and there were several performances at Newmarket last week that will live long in the memory. Undoubtedly the star of the weekend was Ten Sovereigns, who fair bolted up to win the July Cup and establish himself at the top of the six furlong sprinting pile.
Thursday’s feature race went the way of Communique, who carried a penalty with aplomb to win the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes. Veracious bounced back to top form to land the Group One Falmouth Stakes on Friday, proving – as if we needed any more evidence – that Sir Michael Stoute is truly a master at nurturing older horses.
It’s easy to highlight the winners’ during a high-profile festival like the July Meeting. However, it can pay to look beyond the champions and see which of the beaten horses could bounce back to winning form next time out. Here are five horses who caught the eye in defeat at Newmarket last week and some possible targets they could be aimed at during the second half of the season.
Mark Johnston’s charge was backed like defeat was out of the question ahead of the July Stakes and it seemed like the punters would be celebrating a big win when Frankie Dettori’s mount hit the front. In a surprising twist, Visinari couldn’t muster the change of gear needed to put the race to bed and late swoops from Royal Lytham and Platinum Star relegated the beaten favourite back to third.
Still, only to be beaten a head in a Group Two, on just his second career start, can be regarded a good effort and will fill Johnston and his team with plenty confidence moving forwards. A step up beyond six furlongs will surely be on the cards for this son of Dark Angel, with an outing in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood almost certain.
Instead of a penalty-carrying mission in the Bahrain Trophy earlier in the card, Andrew Balding decided to pitch Queen’s Vase winner, Dashing Willoughby in with his elders in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes. I, and many punters, wasn’t convinced the form of that Group Two was going to stack up particularly well and swerved Balding’s three-year-old ahead of Thursday’s race. Despite a lack of support, the 10/1 shot performed much better than expected, plugging on well after being passed in the couple of furlongs to finish less than three-lengths behind Comminuque in fourth.
Oisin Murphy’s front-running tactics may not have worked on this occasion, but I was impressed with the attitude Dashing Willoughby showed to finish the race as well as he did. The St Leger is clearly the end-goal for Balding’s colt this season and the experience Dashing Willoughby gained at Newmarket will stand him in excellent stead when he drops back in with his own age group – probably in the Great Voltigeur.
The bet365 Trophy was an excellent addition to the July Meeting schedule this year and the inaugural running of this staying handicap was claimed by the battle-hardened King’s Advice. In complete contrast to the victor, Outbox was making just his second appearance of the season in Friday’s feature handicap and it was no surprised to see Simon Crisford’s charge come home outside the places.
It was a hugely-difficult assignment to be handed on your first start in handicap company, especially considering the majority of Outbox’s have come in small-field affairs on ground softer than good. Considering the conditions of the race and the drift he suffered before the off, to finish sixth of 17 wasn’t a bad effort in the slightest. Outbox has the profile of a big improver and he should come on from last week’s effort significantly. The Irish St Leger, over an outing in the Ebor, could be a realistic goal.
Following a fine third in another excellent renewal of the London Gold Cup, Good Birthday was backed into favouritism for the bet365 Handicap which opened proceedings on day two. Walkinthesand proved he was a cut above handicap level by carrying top-weight to the title, with Good Birthday finishing nicely to cross the line a two-and-a-half length fifth.
A terrible start meant Silvestre De Sousa would have to bide his time at the rear for much of the race. Hardly any horses came from off the pace during the entire Festival, so it was quite an achievement to finish as close to the winners as he did. There’s a big handicap prize in Good Birthday’s legs, whether over 10 or 12 furlongs. Slow starts, however, are proving very costly!
It’s quite hard to read too much into the form of this year’s Superlative Stakes, seeing as the two fancied runners – King’s Command and Year Of The Tiger – trailed over the line last and second-last. Yet, I think it would be unfair to take anything away from Mystery Power, who executed his race perfectly under Oisin Murphy and stayed on gamely to claim a one-length victory.
While the winner looked smooth and composed beyond his years, runner-up Juan Elcano looked a real work in progress. Kevin Ryan’s charge got off to an inauspicious start, took a little while to warm up when Andrea Atzeni asked him for an effort and seemed to lose his rhythm for a stride or two as the field met the rising ground.
When the penny finally dropped in the final furlong, Mystery Power wasn’t for catching, but Juan Elcano stuck his neck out in eye-catching fashion and was gaining on the winner as they crossed the line. He too should come on from that high-profile outing and Juan Elcano could develop into a serious contender for the Vertem Futurity Trophy – a race Ryan won back in 2005 – as the season draws to its conclusion.