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Newmarket July Festival Tips – Through the Card Selections on Day 1

Racegoers watch The Edmondson Hall Solicitors Sir Henry Cecil Stakes during day one of The Moet & Chandon July Festival at Newmarket Racecourse.

Newmarket’s July Festival begins on Thursday with a bumper seven-race card that centres around the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes. In anticipation of a top day’s racing, our Racing Editor has produced previews and selections for all seven races on day one of the meeting. Check this out below, alongside an exclusive Matchbook offer, which provides Money Back as a Free Bet up to £30 if your first bet loses.

All odds are Matchbook Exchange Odds – Prices correct at the time of publish

CANADIANSMOKESHOW – (1:20 Newmarket, British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes)

Ivory Madonna, third in the Albany Stakes last time out, is the clear form pick for this fillies maiden and has taken this option ahead of Friday’s Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes.

Whilst she’s clearly the one to beat, a tendency to be slow out of the stalls is a concern and it might just pay to take a chance on one of the newcomers to be clued up enough to take this, with CANADIANSMOKESHOW preferred.

Sean Woods’ filly was an expensive pickup at €290,000 as a yearling, and she’s got a good pedigree being a half-sister to US Grade 1 winner Going Global and the nippy Roger Varian colt Mitbaahy. The yard is 3-10 with their juveniles on turf this year and Ryan Moore looks a notable booking, in what rates a tricky opener, she is worth siding with.

WALK OF STARS – (1:50 Newmarket, Bahrain Trophy Stakes) 4.3

Masekela came from a long way back to snatch fourth (66/1) in the Derby, and that would suggest this 1m5f trip would be within his reach. He bumped into Godolphin’s Native Trail at this meeting 12 months ago, however, and might just find one of the boys in blue once again too strong here, in WALK OF STARS.

This lad has a strikingly similar profile to last year’s winner Yibir in that he’s been gelded since last seen.

Walk Of Stars’ last run came in the Derby, where he failed to beat a rival home. He looked all over the place on that track, however, and had previously looked like an awkward ride in the Lingfield Derby Trial where the track, once again, probably didn’t play to his strengths.

Getting back on a more conventional circuit is certain to suit Walk Of Stars, and on that Lingfield form, he appears to have the beating of Zechariah. If the gelding operation helps to iron out some of his kinks, he’s got the ability to develop into a classy performer at this level.

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Newmarket Racecourses, The Links, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 0TG. United Kingdom.

Newmarket Racecourse

Known as the headquarters of British racing, Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course features a clutch of top quality events such as the 1000 and 2000 Guineas in early May and Champions Day in October. One of the fairest tracks in the world, racing at the Rowley Mile is divided into two seasons, spring and autumn, and only on rare occasions does the ground ride on the soft side. Racing switches from the Rowley Mile to the popular July Course during the summer months. The highlight of the season is the Darley July Cup, Europe’s leading six furlongs sprint, which takes place on the final day of the three-day July Meeting. The six evening meetings are amongst the most popular fixtures staged anywhere in the country.

PERSIAN FORCE – (2:25 Newmarket, Close Brothers July Stakes) 2.62

Coolmore’s Little Big Bear landed a mighty gamble in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, and on that running, he looks ready for this step back up to 6f.

Whilst he warrants obvious respect, the Two to Follow Three to Avoid article produced earlier this week showed just how potent the Hannon stable is with their juveniles at this meeting, particularly in this race, having landed five of the last ten renewals, and that makes their PERSIAN FORCE of obvious interest.

This Amo Racing-owned colt is by 2016 race winner Mehmas, so he’s certainly bred for the job, and he looked well above average when landing his first two starts, demolishing the Brocklesby field on debut.

Persian Force lost his unbeaten record in the Coventry Stakes last time out, but he was still a fine second there and it looked like a vintage renewal of that contest. Connections think the world of this lad, and the topspeed figure he posted last time is head and shoulders above anything achieved by any of these rivals. It’s a surprise he’s not the outright favourite here, and I fully expect him to be back amongst the winners on Thursday afternoon.

AASSER – (3:00 Newmarket, Bet Boost At bet365 Handicap) 18

The Newmarket July Festival Antepost article identified Bear Profit as a big player in this 6f handicap, and whilst he remains firmly on the shortlist, final declarations have shown Karl Burke chooses to go double-handed in this with both AASSER and Lethal Levi.

The former rates a very strong player, having produced some eyecatching form on the all-weather over the winter, which included a short-head second to the now 109-rated Checkandchallenge.

A winner of a strong 3yo handicap on All-Weather Finals Day, Aasser is 0-3 on turf since, yet he has had excuses, having looked a little all at sea at Musselburgh on penultimate outing, before finding only a more patiently ridden rival too strong at Ayr last time.

On both occasions, Aasser was in front merely yards after the line, and the way he travelled through his races suggests dropping back to 6f won’t inconvenience.

A visor now goes on for the first time, and William Buick takes over in the saddle. If either of those factors manages to unlock even slight improvement in Aasser he can outrun his odds.

Our best horse racing tips, compiled exclusively for GG by our in-house tipster.

Bet of the day

YIBIR – (3:35 Newmarket, Princess Of Wales’s Close Brothers Stakes) 2.6

Mostahdaf seemed to confirm his stamina for 1m4f when runner-up in the Hardwicke last month, but he was still over 3l behind the winner that day and Hurricane Lane let the form down in Sunday’s Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

West End Charmer and Global Storm are yet to win above handicap level, whilst New Mandate has both form and stamina queries. Living Legend has been slow to leave the stalls the last twice and hasn’t beaten a rival home, so for all that Ryan Moore takes over, he’s risky at present.

By the process of elimination, YIBIR rates the one to be with.

Winner of the Bahrain Trophy on this card 12 months ago, Charlie Appleby’s charge developed into a Grade 1 winner later in the campaign, claiming Breeders’ Cup Turf honours at Del Mar. Although a beaten favourite in three subsequent runs, he only just failed to get up in Dubai, the Rowley Mile probably isn’t his track (disappointed there in the past) and he was unfortunate in the Man o’War at Belmont last time when completely blowing the start and having to challenge very wide on the bend, so there were potential excuses.

His style of racing can result in him struggling in races that turn tactical, but with two Johnston horses in here this shouldn’t be run at a crawl, and that’s before considering that his stablemate Global Storm could have been entered solely to play the role of the pacemaker.

Clear on ratings and the only previous course winner in this field, this is Yibir’s race to lose.

MIGHTY ULYSSES – (4:10 Newmarket, Edmondson Hall Solicitors Sir Henry Cecil Stakes) 2.52

The best bet on Newmarket’s Thursday card comes in the Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes, where MIGHTY ULYSSES is a confident selection.

John & Thady Gosden’s colt was a maiden and novice winner on either start of a fifth in the Listed Derby Trial at Epsom (raced freely).

Backed into 13/8F for the Silver Bowl at Haydock next time, Mighty Ulysses travelled through that race like a Group horse masquerading as a handicapper and it was only the decision to kick him for home a little early that probably cost him the race, with Whoputfiftyinyou running him down late.

That has since turned out to be a sparkling piece of form, yet even so, it was surprising to see Mighty Ulysees punted into as short as 11/2 for the Group 1 St James’s Palace on the back of that showing, yet he showed the market support to be completely justified with a close-up fifth there, arguably a little unlucky not to be in the places.

Thursday’s contest represents a big class drop for Mighty Ulysses, and he has the beating of the second favourite Berkshire Shadow on that Ascot running. With the scope for more to come and his yard going absolutely great guns, he’s impossible to oppose.

Today’s Racecards

PISTOLETTO – (4:40 Newmarket, Weatherbys Hamilton Handicap) 22

The closing race at Newmarket on Thursday is a mile handicap and it’s no great shock to see the two 3yos head the betting having each won their last starts. They both looked a little favoured by their track positions last time, however, and have weight rises to defy.

Noble Dynasty was once the top-price yearling in Europe at 3.6m guineas, but he’s been gelded since struggling on the Rowley Mile in October and can only be watched for now.

A quick run through some of the other runners; Echo Point (trip), Repertoire and Coase (handicap marks), Desert Doctor and Sole Above (stamina), Power Of Darkness (seasonal debut), Dingle, Balearic and Humanitarian (recent form) suggest none has a perfect profile, and therefore at a price, it could pay to take a chance on PISTOLETTO.

John Ryan’s 5yo has gained his recent wins on the all-weather, but he’s a dual turf scorer and was fourth on his penultimate British turf run behind a trio of horses now officially rated 10lb, 5lb and 7lb higher respectively.

Pistoletto stood little chance when a 100/1 shot for the 7f Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, but still managed a midfield finish there and should be far more at home at this level back up in trip.

Now only a pound above his last winning mark, regular pilot Darragh Keenan is doing the steering and the 25/1 available just looks a touch too big to pass over.

July Festival Day 1 Tips

CANADIANSMOKESHOW – (1:20 Newmarket, British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes)

WALK OF STARS – (1:50 Newmarket, Bahrain Trophy Stakes) 4.3

PERSIAN FORCE – (2:25 Newmarket, Close Brothers July Stakes) 2.62

AASSER – (3:00 Newmarket, Bet Boost At bet365 Handicap) 18

YIBIR – (3:35 Newmarket, Princess Of Wales’s Close Brothers Stakes) 2.6

MIGHTY ULYSSES – (4:10 Newmarket, Edmondson Hall Solicitors Sir Henry Cecil Stakes) 2.52

PISTOLETTO – (4:40 Newmarket, Weatherbys Hamilton Handicap) 22