Rory Delargy: Oppose Commonwealth form in July Cup

4 min


13:05 Newmarket – Superlative Stakes

It’s very possible that Cape of Good Hope will improve when granted a true test of stamina given he’s a full brother to Idaho and Highland Reel, but he’s managed just a minor win in three starts, and is either not very precocious or not very talented, although there is the possibility that he’s a combination of the two. He was visually quite impressive for much of his latest win at Tipperary but ended up being closed down by one who was poorly placed at the top of the straight, and he really was seen to maximum effect there under a decisive ride from Donnacha O’Brien.

He was receiving weight from the second and third, as well, and it’s a stretch to suggest he was showing pattern-class form, or that he was likely to improve significantly in the short term.

Recommended: Lay Cape of Good Hope for a place @ 2.7 or shorter

14:15 Newmarket – July Cup

This looks a really tough July Cup with many chances, and it’s not that easy prising out the value. One potential weak link is the form of the Commonwealth Cup, which has quickly developed into a pivotal Group 1 contest, but which looked to dip in quality this year, with only 2¼ lengths covering the first eight home, and while the winner might have been more superior than his margin of victory having run around in front, I think the form behind Eqtidaar is nothing special. Sands of Mali ran his usual game race, and there’s no denying he’s a trier, but that effort gives him a chunk to find, and I cannot see where further progress will come from given how precocious he is.

His only poor run last year came at Newmarket, which raises the question of whether he can handle the track, and I’d have him in at at least double his current odds.

Recommended: Lay Sands of Mali for a place @ 3.5 or shorter

12:45 Ascot – Bet With Ascot Heritage Handicap

Line of Reason was a very impressive winner at Ayr during the week, but these sprint handicaps are very tight-knit, and he is easy enough to oppose under a penalty. While he did take the eye the other day, he was fully entitled to laugh at inferior rivals, and any suggestion that he showed improved form to score is likely to prove wide of the mark. It’s hard to imagine he’d be shorter than 8/1 if he’d turned up here off a lower mark having missed Ayr, so it makes no real sense that he’s a shorter price with a significantly bigger burden.

He’s still fairly treated on the pick of his form off 97 (won off that mark at Musselburgh last year), so it’s not like he can’t win, but his ability to do so is overestimated in relation to the opposition, and he’s liable to be a couple of points shorter than he should be.

Recommended: Lay Line of Reason for a place @ 3.0 or shorter