The Daily Mail's Sam Turner has all the best CH4 bets on July Cup day.
The Shropshire Wolves syndicate went close in an Ascot handicap yesterday with Flowers On Venus and they may go two better with DOUGAN (Best price 12-1) who has appeared as though a strongly-run five furlongs would suit this season. The Welsh raider could be worth chancing in a highly competitive heat as this has been the plan for a while and his come-from-behind style often reaps rewards at this venue. Maljaa is forgiven a poor effort at Epsom and could be a threat back at a more orthodox track.
DUTCH CONNECTION (Best price 6-1) is put forward as a tentative selection in a race which offers more questions than answers. In the hope his last effort in the Lockinge was simply too bad to be true, the return to a turning track should assist a horse that doesn’t lack pace and a faster surface may also help. Although beaten by Toormore in the bet365 Mile at Sandown, the easy ground may not have done the runner-up any favours there as he travelled like a dream before the wheels starting spinning in the mud.
Rachel Richardson has made a real impact in the saddle this season and she could enjoy another big day on the Knavesmire courtesy of the consistent ONE WORD MORE (Best price 7-1). Lightly-raced this term, the six-year-old ran really well in a Listed event over course and distance handicap here last time, finishing just a length behind Convey who is a fancy for the Summer Mile at Ascot. He looks well drawn to launch a challenge for a stable that love a winner at this venue.
QUEST FOR MORE (Best price 7-2) travelled strongly on his return only to be worried out of it close home by the talented Moonrise Landing at today’s venue. Compensation could await today and he narrowly gains the nod with conditions to suit and that run under his belt. The progressive Barsanti is a huge threat while Francis Of Assisi is worth a second look in the market given the way his operation have reintegrated the ex-John Ferguson hurdlers.
ARTHENUS (Best price 8-1) has surely been targeted at a repeat bid by connections having won at this venue to complete a sparkling treble last autumn. An eyecatcher in the first-time cheekpieces at Ascot when staying on into fourth behind subsequent winner Sir Isaac Newton, his handler reaches for the visor today and that could be the catalyst to a winning performance. Any overnight rain shouldn’t inconvenience his chance and his yard have enjoyed a good time of it lately. Those at bigger prices worth considering include Revolutionist (3rd, a place in front of Arthenus at Ascot), Earth Drummer, who ran respectably in the Hunt Cup on ground too soft, and Basem who was behind Earth Drummer at Ascot and will appreciate the step up in trip on better ground.
OUT DO (Best price 12-1) and MONSIEUR JOE (Best price 12-1) fought out the finish to this event 12 months ago and they could both be on the scene again. The former needed his first run at Haydock and was stuck in the mud behind Profitable at Ascot so should relish conditions as well as the speed drawn next to him in the form of trail blazer Caspian Prince. Monsieur Joe has been kept busy of late and is certainly giving away a few years to his rivals but he has maintained a high level of form lately and charged home to force a photo with the classy Brando at Sandown last weekend.
The lightly-raced PERKUNAS (Best price 25-1) was a late withdrawal from the Britannia Handicap at Ascot but he remains of interest with Frankie Dettori booked. The selection chased home the talented Emotionless on his debut and posted a series of decent efforts throughout his juvenile campaign, not least behind Crazy Horse in a Newbury Group Three last backend. The market doesn’t rate his chances but he looks capable of outrunning those odds.
This race represents a different test for South Seas but he was undeniably impressive at Windsor on soft ground (6f) and if he can reproduce that level of performance he will be tough to beat. However, although this race hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Aidan O’Brien, victory for WAR DECREE (Best price 7-2) may change matters. A good winner on his Leopardstown debut, the selection handles top of the ground well and powered to an authoritative win that day so could continue his trainer’s excellent July meeting.
Those willing to shop around can find some great value in today’s July Cup with Skybet offering five places which looks too good to resist. There must be something in the Suffolk air which agrees with EASTERN IMPACT (Best price 33-1) and he rates a good value bet to bustle up those more fancied in this afternoon’s feature. Richard Fahey’s speedster has travelled to HQ six times in a 19-race career to tackle both the Rowley Mile and July Course and those visits have yielded superbly consistent form figures of 412113. Those efforts include a terrific run to take third in last year’s renewal of this afternoon’s Group One feature where champion sprinter Muhaarar proved a length-and-a-half too strong at the line. There was no disgrace in suffering defeat at the hands of a horse which went on to score at the highest level four times last season and Eastern Impact should also strip fitter for his reappearance at York where he showed up well behind Magical Memory before lack of condition told.
The experiment to run FLASH FIRE (Best price 14-1) in the Wokingham Handicap on easy ground at Royal Ascot ultimately ended in failure, but the four-year-old could be a much different proposition now he tackles fast ground and an extra furlong. Hailing from a stable which are enjoying a very decent summer, the selection was previously a good winner of a big-field handicap under today’s conditions so could easily bounce back now that he encounters a sound surface. He was also placed here last year in a fast speed figure to enhance confidence in his chance this afternoon and the firms going five places are the ones to target.
Read Sam Turner's tips in the Daily Mail every day or at www.dailymail.co.uk/racing