Spotlight On The Darley July Cup

Spotlight On The Darley July Cup

Steve Mullington
Saturday's Darley July Cup is one of Europe's biggest sprints and is the feature race on the last day of the excellent Newmarket July Festival.

Saturday's Darley July Cup is one of Europe's biggest sprints and is the feature race on the last day of the excellent Newmarket July Festival.

Unbeaten Caravaggio takes on several classy older sprinters, including last year’s stunning winner Limato. Harry Angel will ensure the pace is strong throughout the six-furlongs, and the race is all set to be a fantastic renewal.

Ten runners go to post and here is a runner-by-runner guide to their chances:


Jockey Tom Eaves believes Kevin Ryan’s five-year-old is the forgotten horse in this field and is more than capable of bouncing back after his last run.

Brando ran no sort of race when finishing last of twelve in the Duke of York Stakes on his latest start in May, when it was found that he had bled from the nose. In the meantime his stable was barred from having runners owing to an outbreak of equine herpes. However they have been firing since their recent resumption and Brando could have a real outsiders chance.


Growl was a fine second to The Tin Man in the British Champions Sprint last October but things have deteriorated quickly since.

He unseated Paul Hanagan in the starting stalls on his latest start at Royal Ascot, which was on the back of three disappointing runs. A Listed win at Doncaster last November is his only success in his last ten outings.


The six-year-old took a valuable handicap at York last autumn and showed his best form so far when second in an all-weather Group Three last time out. A step up to a Group One race does appear to be rather ambitious though and he is unlikely to trouble the judge.


Harry Bentley is excited to be reunited with Limato as trainer Henry Candy’s sprinting star defends his Darley July Cup crown on Saturday afternoon.

He did not have much joy with his winter exploits over in Dubai but when he returned he proved he was no back number in last month's Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Henry Candy is hopeful of reversing the form with the two that finished in front of him and he should make a bold bid.

Mr Lupton

Mr Lupton has failed to finish in the top two from five attempts at Listed and Group Three level combined. It is highly unlikely that this unenviable record will be changing in this race.

He is one of two Richard Fahey’s stabs at the contest, the other being the Dr Marwan Koukash owned Growl.


Tasleet was seen just twice last season but has returned this year at the top of his game.

He put in an eye-catching run in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, scything through the field inside the final furlong to all but close to within a neck of The Tin Man.  He had earlier shown the benefits of wearing first-time cheekpieces in his Group Two Clipper Stakes win at York.

The suspicion is however that he would probably like the ground conditions a little easier.

The Tin Man

The Tin Man, named after legendary jockey Fred Archer, is trained at Newmarket by James Fanshawe. Surprisingly, the horse will be racing on his own patch for the very first time.

He was a narrow winner of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, beating Tasleet and Limato into second and third respectively.

Whether this track will play to his strengths as well as Ascot where he has gained his two top-level victories remains to be seen but he certainly has a sporting chance.


Aidan O’Brien’s juvenile has been impressive good in his two starts this season, posting a stellar performance in the Commonwealth Cup last time. He sometimes gets a little worked up beforehand but that hasn't stopped him making it a six out of six career record.

He made up plenty of ground late in the day to beat early leader Harry Angel by nearly a length in the Commonwealth Cup and there seems to be no particular reason why he can’t do the same job again in this race.

The son of Scat Daddy faces older sprinters for the first time as he tries to take his perfect record to seven.


Harry Angel

Harry Angel, who runs in Godolphin blue, has two wins and three seconds from five starts and his trainer Clive Cox certainly knows how to ready a sprinter.

He showed plenty of pace to make every yard at Haydock before narrowly failing to do the same at Royal Ascot in the Commonwealth Cup clash with Caravaggio.

He made Caravaggio work extremely hard for victory at Royal Ascot, the first horse to do so in Caravaggio’s six-race unbeaten career, and the July Course with its uphill incline may just play into his strengths. A reversal of the form is certainly on the cards.

Intelligence Cross

Won a Group Three race at the Curragh last season but has been winless in five outings since.

Ran somewhat of a “spoiler” to the confirmed leader in the Commonwealth Cup and the suspicion is that the same tactics will be used again in this.


A relatively small field but has all the makings of a classic renewal featuring the  unbeaten Caravaggio, last year's winner in Limato as well as a dual Group One winner in The Tin Man and rising stars Tasleet and Harry Angel.

Caravaggio has all the makings of being another Aidan O’Brien superstar and he is the firm selection here on the 888sport blog. Check out the website for prices.