Racing Post's preview of July's top meetings

Royal Ascot may be over for another year, but the Flat season is still taking shape with big prizes up for grabs including the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park on July 7th, followed by the prestigious July festival at Newmarket from July 12th - 14th.

With record prize-money of £750,000, the Coral-Eclipse marks a clash of generations, as it is the first time the British Classic three-year-olds face the older horses.

Following his Investec Derby victory, Masar is set to drop back to 1m2f to contest this star-studded Group 1 and he will have to overcome the experienced Poet’s Word.

Sir Michael Stoute’s five-year-old has won at the top level on three occasions, including a surprise 2¼-length victory over Cracksman in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, which gave his trainer a record 76th winner at Royal Ascot.

A week later Newmarket takes up the mantle, as it hosts The July Festival, the first major meeting after Royal Ascot.

It stages two Group 1s, starting with the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes on Friday, July 13th, an exciting 1m contest likely to be headed by the Aidan O'Brien-trained Rhododendron.

A narrow winner of the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May, Rhododendron has to bounce back after finishing ninth in the Queen Anne Stakes.

Then attentions turn to the main event, the Darley July Cup Stakes, where some of the world's top sprinters do battle over 6f.

Last year’s winner Harry Angel started Royal Ascot's Diamond Jubilee Stakes as favourite but, after being hampered in the stalls, finished second-last.

Australian raider Redkirk Warrior will also be bidding for redemption. After fading under Frankie Dettori in the Diamond Jubilee, he will be reunited with jockey Regan Bayliss, who has already won three Group 1s on him.

Blue Point will also head into the race in top form after winning the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot for Charlie Appleby.

by The Racing Post's Jonathan Harding at Rewards4Racing

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