The July Cup is one of the most prestigious spring races of the season in the United Kingdom, as the best sprinters from around the continent head to Newmarket to compete on the July Course.
The race was formed in 1876, and a host of past winners that won over the six-furlong trip have been revered as the most dominant sprinter in Europe. Recent winners of the famous race include Limato, Oxted and Harry Angel. But, which horses could be best placed to add their name to that list?
Ed Walker-trained Starman is already the horse at the top of the betting for the July Cup, as he looks to win a fourth race in just under a year. Before thinking about the competitive Group 1 at Newmarket, Walker will first be focused on the task in front of Starman at Royal Ascot, as he will come up against impressive competition in the form of Nahaarr and Dream of Dreams in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Starman is already at the head of that betting, as he will have a renewal with Nahaarr. The two last clashed at York in the middle of May in the Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes. Starman was the narrow winner on that occasion, as he won by a neck. The finish to that race means that the race at Ascot, and the July Cup will both be captivating viewing for fans.
Wesley Ward has already indicated that his American raider, Campanelle, will be staying in the United Kingdom after the royal meeting, as she looks to deliver the July Cup. It could be a history making moment for jockey Frankie Dettori, as he will likely get the ride on the three-year-old.
Dettori has won virtually every race that there is to win in the UK, but the July Cup is the one that has alluded him. He has been second in the race on a couple of occasions, but Campanelle could be his chance to end that run.
The three-year-old returns at Royal Ascot after being far from disgraced in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, where she finished fourth. That was her first defeat on the track, as she had previously won in group company at both Ascot and Deauville.
She will be in the Commonwealth Cup at the royal meeting, and is a hot favourite to get the win. The July Cup could be beckoning if that’s the way it plays out on the day.
Roger Teal will also have a live chance in the July Cup, as Oxted looks likely to head to Newmarket. The five-year-old has been slightly disappointing since having wind surgery in July of last year, as he returned to the track with a fifth at Ascot and seventh in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint.
There were glimpses that he was back to somewhere near his best this season, as he stayed on well to finish second in the Group 2 Abernant Stakes behind Summerghand.
However, he was unable to back up that strong showing with a first win since the July Cup in 2020, as he finished in third in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes behind Starman and Nahaarr.
It will be fascinating to see whether Oxted heads back to Newmarket to try and defend his crown. No horse has successfully defended the July Cup since Right Boy in 1959. We will likely learn more about his chances next month when he lines up against Battaash in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Here you have our favourites for the July Cup. If you fancy horse racing, try TwinSpires horse wagering now!