Racing Post's July Festival Preview

The three-day Newmarket July Festival is always one of the most eagerly anticipated meetings of the entire year, with a plethora of top-class horses competing for prestigious prizes.

Masar, last year’s Derby hero, returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines when finishing fifth to Defoe in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Things didn’t go his way that day, and it would be no surprise if he raised his game considerably if taking up an entry in the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.

The form of his Derby win worked out better than many anticipated at the time with the third Roaring Lion going on to win four successive Group 1s, including the Juddmonte International at York.

With the retirement of sprint sensation Blue Point announced after his two Group 1 triumphs at Royal Ascot, the door could be open for the three-year-old Advertise to fill the gap.

Martyn Meade’s colt relished the step back to 6f when landing the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, and could now take on the older sprinters in the Group 1 Darley July Cup.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dream Of Dreams, who has made dramatic progress in three starts so far in 2019, most recently when getting to within a head of Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, could also take his place in the line up.

The Group 1 Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes is a possible next destination for Aidan O’Brien’s dual 1,000 Guineas heroine Hermosa, who went down with all guns blazing by a length and a half to Watch Me in Royal Ascot’s Group 1 Coronation Stakes.

The July Festival is also host to top-class handicaps, including the historic bet365 Bunbury Cup, the weights for which are currently headed by Wokingham Stakes winner Cape Byron.

Two-year-olds also have their chance to shine, and many of the top Newmarket stables are likely to unleash a smart juvenile or two over the three days.

by The Racing Post's Richard Birch at Rewards4Racing

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