Although the Moet & Chandon July Festival at Newmarket doesn’t quite carry the same gravitas as Cheltenham or Royal Ascot, it is nonetheless classified as a big festival. As such, millions of pounds are likely to be wagered over the course of the three days so I’ve compiled a short guide on Newmarket trends designed to help you get an edge over the bookies. For brevity’s sake, I am only focusing on a total of 5 races.
Princess of Wales’ Arqana Racing Club Stakes
This is a Group 2 race for 3yo+ and takes place over 1m 4f. It was introduced in 1894 as a 1 mile race but was extended to its current distance in 1902. It was promoted to Group 2 status in 1978 after 7 years as a Group 3 event.
It’s a race where Sir Michael Stoute has enjoyed fantastic recent success as he has trained 6 winners since 2005 and he is the most successful trainer ever in the event with 9 winners. Lester Piggott was the top jockey with 8 wins.
|2011||Crystal Capella||6||4/1||Sir M. Stoute|
|2012||Fiorente||4||11/2||Sir M. Stoute|
|2014||Cavalryman||8||9/1||S. Bin Suroor|
|2015||Big Orange||4||25/1||M. L. W. Bell|
- 15/19 winners have been in the first 4 in the betting.
- 7/9 winners have been 4yo.
- 12/17 winners had an OR of 111+.
- 12/19 winners had their last run in the 16-60 day bracket.
The Princess of Wales’ Stakes is known for its competitiveness; only one horse has won at odds of less than 5/2 in the last couple of decades and that was Gamut at 2/1 in 2005. Indeed, only 2 favourites have won this race since 1997 but most winners tend to come in the first few horses in the betting.
Sir Michael Stoute will be looking to continue his exceptional record in this race with Exosphere which is currently the 5/2 favourite. This horse ticks most of the boxes; he is a 4yo with an OR of 119 and his last run will be 19 days ago at the time of the race.
Although 4yo horses have dominated this race in recent years, Exosphere is the only 4yo to be entered. The main danger could be The Grey Gatsby but the 5yo has never run beyond 1m 3f and that only happened once.
In contrast, Exosphere has run his last two races over 1m 4f and fully justifies his place at the top of the market.
Duchess of Cambridge Stakes
This event used to be called the Cherry Hinton Stakes and is specifically for 2yo fillies. It is a test of speed over a straight 6f track and was first run in 1947. Its name was changed to the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes in 2013. Henry Cecil and Sir Michael Stoute are the most successful trainers in this event with 4 wins apiece while Walter Swinburn is the top jockey with 5 wins.
|2011||Gamilati||2||14/1||M. Al Zarooni|
|2013||Lucky Kristale||2||20/1||G. G Margarson|
|2014||Arabian Queen||2||4/1||D. R. C. Elsworth|
|2015||Illuminate||2||7/4||R. Hannon Jr.|
- 8/19 favourites have won this event.
- 18/19 winners had their last run 8-30 days before the event.
- 16/19 winners had 2 or 3 season runs.
- 15/19 winners finished first or second in their previous race.
- 11/19 winners won their last race.
For some reason, no odds are available just 3 days before the race! There are a number of interesting contenders including Bletchley who looked good at Ascot even though she was beaten by a short head by Brave Anna. The filly won her only other race this season so she meets most of the trend criteria.
Without a market guide, we need to rely on the trends which suggest Nations Alexander and Miss Infinity are possible contenders. Asidious Alexander also has potential and the booking of Frankie Dettori certainly makes her interesting. However, she has only had one race this season although it was admittedly an impressive win at Doncaster.
Tattersalls 250th Year Falmouth Stakes
This Group 1 race takes place over 1 mile and is open to 3yo+ fillies and mares. It is one of the biggest events at the festival with a total prize fund of £200,000. The first event was held in 1911 but it was restricted to fillies. It only became open to mares in 1974. The most successful trainer is Alec Taylor Jr. with 6 wins and Lester Piggott is the top jockey with 7 wins spread across an incredible 37 year span.
|2011||Timepiece||4||16/1||H. R. A Cecil|
|2012||Giofra||4||10/1||A De Royer-Dupre|
|2013||Elusive Kate||4||3/1||J. H. M. Gosden|
|2014||Integral||4||15/8||Sir M. Stoute|
|2015||Amazing Maria||4||17/2||D. O’Meara|
- 12/19 winners had their last run 16-30 days before the race.
- 10/12 winners had an OR of 110+.
- 17/19 winners were aged 4 or 5.
- 5/5 winners were 4yo.
This is not necessarily a race for favourites as the winners tend to be spread evenly across the betting market. Last year’s winner Amazing Maria is available at 12/1 but has not performed particularly well in her two races this year. Last time out she was 6th a full 4 lengths behind Tepin while she also finished 5½ lengths behind Usherette in her other race.
It just so happens that Usherette is running in this race and is the 4/5 favourite. The 4yo has been in sparkling form this season with 3 wins from 3 events including an impressive win at Ascot. If you believe the bookies, she is in a league of her own with Nemoralia the second favourite at 6/1. While I am loathe to suggest odds-on favourites as tips, it’s very hard to back against Usherette here.
Darley July Cup
This is the main event at the Newmarket July Festival with a total prize fund of £500,000. It is one of the most prestigious flat races in the UK and takes place over 6f. It is open to 3yo+ with 3yos given a 6 pound allowance.
This event was first established in 1876; Lester Piggott is top jockey with 10 wins while Vincent O’Brien and Charles Morton are the most successful trainers with 5 wins apiece.
|2011||Dream Ahead||3||7/1||D. M. Simcock|
|2012||Mayson||4||20/1||R. A. Fahey|
|2013||Lethal Force||4||9/2||C. G. Cox|
|2014||Slade Power||5||7/4||E. Lynam|
- 13/19 winners had 1 or 2 season runs.
- 17/19 winners had last run 16-30 days before the race.
- 12/19 winners have been in the first three in the betting.
- 5/6 winners had an OR of 120+.
- 7/9 winners had an SP of less than 10/1.
There were 38 entrants at the time of writing. Obviously, quite a few of them will pull out but let’s look at some likely contenders. Despite the seemingly open nature of the race, past trends suggest the winner will be single digit SP and in the first 3 horses in the betting.
At present, Twilight Now, Quiet Reflection, Magical Memory and Limato are the only single digit SP horses. Yet none of them have an OR of 120; Limato is the closest with 119. Therefore, there are no horses in the race that tick all of the above trend boxes.
Only 2/19 winners did not have their last race 16-30 days before the event. Limato’s last race was in May while the other trio all raced during the Ascot festival. However, only Twilight Son falls into the 1-2 season run category so he meets the most criteria of the favoured horses.
Incidentally, Air Force Blue has the highest OR in the race at 123 but the 14/1 shot last ran in May where he was a dire 7th in an 8 horse race.
This 7f race was first held in 1894 and is named after the legendary Sir Charles Bunbury. A trio of trainers have won the event 3 times while Lester Piggott is yet again the top jockey with 7 wins since 1962.
|2011||Brae Hill||5||11/1||R. A Fahey|
|2012||Bonnie Brae||5||13/2||D. R. C Elsworth|
|2013||Field of Dream||6||14/1||J. A Osborne|
|2014||Heavens Guest||4||12/1||R. A Fahey|
|2015||Rene Mathis||5||16/1||R. A Fahey|
- 19/19 winners have had at least 2 season runs.
- 17/19 winners last ran 8-30 days before the event.
- 9/11 winners had an SP of between 10/1 and 16/1.
- The last 12 winners had an OR of at least 94.
The Bunbury Cup is definitely one for the bookies and this year there is a huge field of potential runners (78 at the last count). This will trim down dramatically over the next few days but let’s see if we can find some likely candidates.
It’s traditionally a tough race to call because the most recent form doesn’t always make much of a difference. In fact, only 4 of the last 19 winners finished first or second in their previous race. History tells us to discount entrants with an OR of less than 94 and also to concentrate on horses in the 10/1-16/1 range.
Winners always have two season runs at a bare minimum with 8-30 days since last ran the sweet spot. This narrows it down to Can’t Change It, Flash Fire, Glory Awaits and Peril. While form often goes out the window at the Bunbury Cup, only 6/19 winners finished outside the top 10 in their previous race.
Peril is the only one of the aforementioned quartet to have performed well last time out with a second place. At 16/1, Peril might be worth an each way punt in what is a brutally tough race to call.