The £400,000 Group One Darley July Cup, the highlight of the three-day Newmarket July Festival, has attracted 69 entries from nine different countries (up from 66 in 2008) for the 2009 renewal, which takes place on the July Course on Friday, July 10.
Run over six furlongs, the Darley July Cup is one of the three British legs of the Global Sprint Challenge alongside the King’s Stand Stakes and the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Among this year’s entry are possible starters from Australia, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, South Africa and the USA, alongside the very best home-trained sprinters.
Last year’s Darley July Cup went the way of Marchand D’Or who became the latest winner of the race to be subsequently crowned European champion sprinter. The Freddie Head-trained gelding is a possible starter again alongside African Rose, trained by his sister Criquette Head-Maarek who won the July Cup in 1996 with Anabaa. African Rose is also a Group One winner, having taken the Sprint Cup at Doncaster in September.
Head-Maarek revealed today: “The Darley July Cup could be a potential race for African Rose. She will hopefully be making her seasonal reappearance over seven furlongs at Longchamp at the end of this month and we will see how she gets on there before deciding where to go with her.
“She’s won over both six and seven furlongs and she has the speed to get the lesser trip. We are starting her off over seven because I think it looks easier for her at this time of the season.
“The stiff six furlongs of the July Course will suit her well because you really have to travel up the hill. She has done very well over the winter and I have been pleased with her preparation for the coming season.
“I was delighted with her victory at Doncaster, where she stayed on well, and she’s a very game filly. She came back with a big joint from the Prix de la Foret and I think she must have walked on herself when leaving the stalls. It was nothing serious and she’s very well in herself at the moment.”
Hungarian superstar Overdose is unbeaten in a dozen outings and “won” the Group One Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp last season in impressive fashion before the race was declared void due to a false start. Contest is from the stable of Athens handler Christos Theodorakis (who also has a base in France) and was a winner in Listed company at Chantilly on April 23 while a prolific Greek winner Ialysos is now with Luca Cumani.
Globetrotting Australian superstar Takeover Target has won 21 races during his glittering career, including the 2006 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and the remarkable 10-year-old appears to be in the form of his life following victories in Group One company at Randwick and Morphettville on his latest two starts. He contested the Darley July Cup in 2006, finishing seventh. The second entry from “Down Under” is Scenic Blast, twice successful in Group One company including on his latest start at Flemington on March 7.
J J The Jet Plane (pictured) is a dual Group One winner in his native South Africa and hails from the all-conquering yard of Mike de Kock, while the one entry from the USA is Cannonball, trained by Wesley Ward and second on his latest start in Grade Three company at Churchill Downs on May 1. Inspiration is trained in Hong Kong by John Moore and is a dual Group One winner in the former British colony, having won the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin in December and the Centenary Sprint Cup at the same course in February.
Several horses who have been campaigned over longer distances have the chance of dropping back in distance for the Darley July Cup, including Paco Boy, who registered his biggest success in the Group One Prix da la Foret over seven furlongs at Longchamp last season and recently showed his well-being by taking a Group Two contest over a mile at Sandown last month.
Derek Lucie-Smith, a member of the Calvera Partnership which owns the Richard Hannon-trained four-year-old, commented: “The Darley July Cup is a possibility for Paco Boy at the moment, although we are focusing on the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury (May 16) at the moment. We will see how he gets on there before deciding whether to stick with him over a mile.
“We actually consider him to be better over seven furlongs as opposed to a mile and we would consider running him over a stiff six furlongs. The July Course would suit that option well, particularly if there was some ease in the ground.
“We thought he won the Sandown Mile in good style, especially as he was the first horse to win the race under a penalty since 1993. It took him about 10 days to get over his Dubai trip - he had a bit of a rough time over there and coming back - so we gave him the run at Sandown.
“He wasn’t 100% on that occasion, but he wasn’t far off. It was more a question of giving the owners a confidence booster rather than the horse!”
Champion trainer Aidan O’Brien has four entries to choose from including stanjames.com 1000 Guineas fourth Heart Shaped and Mastercraftsman, who took fifth place in Saturday’s stanjames.com 2000 Guineas. The stanjames.com 2000 Guineas runner-up Delegator, trained by Brian Meehan, is also entered.
Last year’s third War Artist is a possible starter again while the Darley July Cup is also a possible target for last year’s Golden Jubilee Stakes victor Kingsgate Native, who has returned to training for owners Cheveley Park Stud with Sir Michael Stoute after proving unsuitable as a stallion. The Newmarket-based breeding operation also has the race as an option for Evasive, who finished sixth in the stanjames.com 2000 Guineas.
Hughie Morrison sent out Sakhee’s Secret to success in 2007 and has entered that horse’s half-brother, Palace Moon, this time around. The four-year-old is still some way off showing the form Sakhee’s Secret displayed but was an impressive winner at Doncaster in March.
THE DARLEY JULY CUP
Class One, Group One, £400,000 Total Prize Fund. British Leg of the Global Sprint Challenge. Six furlongs. For three-year-olds and upwards. Newmarket, Friday, July 10, 2009. Entries closed, May 5, entries revealed, May 6 (69 entries). Scratchings deadline, Tuesday, 16. Six-day confirmation & £30,000 supplementary entry stage Saturday, July 4. Final declaration stage 10.00am, Wednesday, July 8. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, May 4. May not include some overseas form.
Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
314210- AFRICAN ROSE 4 Khalid Abdulla Criquette Head-Maarek FR
01-4 ALYARF (USA) 3 Hamdan Al Maktoum Barry Hills
2/61316- ANCIEN REGIME (IRE) 4 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
3/11- AQLAAM 4 Hamdan Al Maktoum William Haggas
6/50641- ARABIAN GLEAM 5 Saeed Suhail Jeremy Noseda
16(1)(1)-(1)(1) ARGANIL (USA) 4 The Big Moment Kevin Ryan
11120-0 ART CONNOISSEUR (IRE) 3 Richard Green Michael Bell
63116-2 AWINNERSGAME (IRE) 3 Saeed Suhail Jeremy Noseda
21311(0)- BUSHRANGER (IRE) 3 Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor David Wachman IRE
103-422 CANNONBALL (USA) 4 Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey Wesley Ward USA
11/1400- CAPTAIN GERRARD (IRE) 4 Reg Bond Bryan Smart
44022-(0) CAT JUNIOR (USA) 4 Roldvale Limited Brian Meehan
065421 CONTEST (IRE) 5 Mrs T Nanos & Christos Theodorakis Christos Theodorakis GRE
4240-(4)6 DAMIEN (IRE) 3 Catherine Corbett & Chris Wright Barry Hills
04300-0 DANDY MAN (IRE) 6 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
215-12 DELEGATOR 3 Poilin Good Brian Meehan
5022-(3)(3) DIABOLICAL (USA) 6 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
106(1)(1)-(2) DUFF (IRE) 6 Kilboy Estate Edward Lynam IRE
05010-0 EDGE CLOSER 5 Godfrey Wilson Richard Hannon
12140-2 EQUIANO (FR) 4 James Acheson Barry Hills
(3)11-6 EVASIVE 3 Cheveley Park Stud Sir Michael Stoute
11/6(0)-43 EXCLAMATION 4 Raymond Tooth Brian Meehan
11005-0 FAT BOY (IRE) 4 Maurice Sines Peter Chapple-Hyam
12103-0 FINJAAN 3 Hamdan Al Maktoum Marcus Tregoning
12/1354- FLEETING SPIRIT (IRE) 4 The Searchers Jeremy Noseda
0032-00 GEORGEBERNARDSHAW (IRE) 4 Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O'Brien IRE
60(3)33-0 GLUTEUS MAXIMUS (IRE) 3 Vesalius Syndicate Aidan O'Brien IRE
(1)(3)-6120 HATTA FORT 4 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
0452-24 HEART SHAPED (USA) 3 Michael Tabor, Sue Magnier & Betty Moran Aidan O'Brien IRE
14- HIMALYA (IRE) 3 Gillian Khosla Jeremy Noseda
1000(3)-1 HITCHENS (IRE) 4 Laurence O'Kane David Barron
2130- HUNTDOWN (USA) 3 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
1/111-11 IALYSOS (GR) 5 Mrs M Marinopoulos Luca Cumani
245210- IL WARRD (IRE) 4 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
501-014 INSPIRATION (AUS) 6 Mr and Mrs Hui Sai Fun John Moore HK
0400-40 INTREPID JACK 7 Michael Lynch Hughie Morrison
1111-(6)1 J J THE JET PLANE (SAF) 5 H S N Du Preez Mike de Kock SAF
30201-0 KING'S APOSTLE (IRE) 5 Bernard Kantor William Haggas
12/0153- KINGSGATE NATIVE (IRE) 4 Cheveley Park Stud Sir Michael Stoute
(1)316- LADDIES POKER TWO (IRE) 4 Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor Jeremy Noseda
152411- MADAME TROP VITE (IRE) 3 Tersea Marnane Kevin Ryan
113100- MAIN AIM 4 Khalid Abdulla Sir Michael Stoute
133200- MAJOR CADEAUX 5 N A Woodcock, A C Pickford & David Mort Richard Hannon
10-100 MAOINEACH (USA) 3 Jackie Bolger Jim Bolger IRE
61116-(0) MARCHAND D'OR (FR) 6 Mrs J L Giral Freddie Head FR
11114-5 MASTERCRAFTSMAN (IRE) 3 Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE
(1)3- MULLIONMILEANHOUR (IRE) 3 Pattern Racing UK Ltd
1514- ORIZABA (IRE) 3 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
0410-10 OUQBA 3 Hamdan Al Maktoum Barry Hills
11111-1 OVERDOSE 4 MIKO Racing-Zoltan Mikoczy Sandor Ribarszki HUN
11D1-01 PACO BOY (IRE) 4 The Calvera Partnership No 2 Richard Hannon
213-1 PALACE MOON 4 Bridget Swire Hughie Morrison
00546-1 PRIME DEFENDER 5 S Falle, M Franklin, J Sumsion Barry Hills
103-(6)11 PROCLAIM 3 Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Mark Johnston
1/10164- REDFORD (IRE) 4 Highclere T'bred Racing (Housemaster) Michael Bell
321- RUN FOR THE HILLS 3 Normandie Stud Ltd John Gosden
23320-1 SAYIF (IRE) 3 Saleh Al Homaizi & Imad Al Sagar Peter Chapple-Hyam
110-151 SCENIC BLAST (AUS) 5 Elio Anthony Galante & Partners Dan Morton AUS
12500-1 SPIN CYCLE (IRE) 3 H E Sheikh Rashid Bin Mohammed Bryan Smart
1/(3)43P-0 STARLIT SANDS 4 Kirsten Rausing Sir Mark Prescott
54305-4 STRIKE THE DEAL (USA) 4 M Barber Jeremy Noseda
2411-11 TAKEOVER TARGET (AUS) 10 Messrs Joe & Ben Janiak Joe Janiak AUS
22411-1 TAX FREE (IRE) 7 Ian Hewitson David Nicholls
2/212- TAYSEER 4 Hamdan Al Maktoum John Hammond FR
6(0)-1112 THREE ROCKS (IRE) 4 Jackie Bolger Jim Bolger IRE
414361- UTMOST RESPECT 5 The Rumpole Partnership Richard Fahey
41-111 VOCALISED (USA) 3 Jackie Bolger Jim Bolger IRE
1/(2)6223- WAR ARTIST (AUS) 6 Rupert Plersch James Eustace
1/0405-4 WINKER WATSON 4 Comic Strip Heroes & Joy Trotter Peter Chapple-Hyam
1 Hong Kong-trained
1 South African-trained