Racing,

Fantastic five in July

It’s jam-packed, badly spread and completely nuts – nope, we’re not talking about a peanut butter jelly sandwich – it’s the flat racing season! If ever there was a genuine positive to take from lockdown, it’s that the racing calendar is playing catch up in a big way. If you thought June was full-on, with the Guineas and Royal Ascot, then July is something else. We’ve picked the five most exciting races of the month to look forward to…


Epsom Oaks, Saturday 4th


Given Coolmore’s last four Oaks-winning fillies were called Forever Together, Minding and the thoughtfully named Was, you wonder whether someone slipped an aphrodisiac in their drinks recently. Among those entered into this year’s renewal are So Wonderful, Passion and the 1000 Guineas winner, Love. On the subject of names, it would take one guess to work out who Frankly Darling is the daughter of. She will attempt to become not just John Gosden’s fourth winner in seven years, but also Frankel’s second in two.

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Epsom Derby, Saturday 4th


It’s usually the case that the 2000 Guineas winner marches to the top of the Derby market, especially when the horse in question has just broken the race record. Kameko, however, sits second in the betting to a horse that has won just twice, including the Lingfield Derby trial. English King is the powerfully named favourite and has been the subject of controversy after Dettori was given the ride over young star Tom Marquand. No pressure on Frankie, then. As for Marquand, he has been known to ride Coolmore horses in the past, although word is out that he’s just taken the ride on in-form trainer Andrew Balding’s Khalifa Sat. Wouldn’t that be a story…!

We are hosting the country’s first live spectator sport on the day – the Drive-in Derby in West London. Think outdoor cinema meets Royal Ascot picnic. Tickets are available.

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Sandown Eclipse, Sunday 5th


Dear Deidre, please don’t spoil the party, our superstar Enable is back for another season and we’d love her to get to the Arc with an Eclipse under her belt. Oisin Murphy rides the Japanese Deidre, who has an impressive Nassau Stakes to her name. Globe-trotter Ghaiyyath is also set for this race and he will fancy his chances – his splits in the Coronation Cup against Stradivarius were as rapid as those of a high-class miler. Oh, and he broke the course record.

Then there’s the emerging star Lord North, who surprised everyone by sweeping home late in the Prince Of Wales. Frankie Dettori had opted for stablemate Medaayih on the day – he won’t be underestimating Lord North twice. Throw in Juddmonte winner Japan and we have a blistering Eclipse to look forward to.

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July Cup, Saturday 15th


A mouth-watering day in store at Newmarket, as Commonwealth Cup and Diamond Jubilee Stakes winners Hello Youmzain and Golden Horde look set to do battle. Then throw into the mix £2,800 revelation Sceptical and the Sir Michael Stoute’s Dream Of Dreams, who were both on Hello Youmzain’s hooves. This could be one of the most competitive and entertaining Group One sprints in years.


Sussex Stakes, 29th July


Siskin vs Pinatubo. The unbeaten Irish superstar against the explosive Guineas favourite. Siskin has done everything right so far and won trainer Ger Lyons his first Classic in the Irish 2000 Guineas, overcoming traffic to zoom home in the final furlong. Something that Pinatubo has been unable to do so far. In the St James’s Palace, he ran a superb effort but found that extra 200m just a bit too much. That said, the shorter straight at Goodwood could suit him. We’ve had Frankel vs Canford Cliffs, Toronado vs Dawn Approach and The Ghurka vs Galileo Gold. Is this another Duel on the Downs.

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