Five Value Plays At Newmarket’s July Festival

Gavin Beech identifies a handful of runners with an outside chance to consider backing at this week’s festival.

Five Value Plays At Newmarket’s July Festival

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Jumby 9/1 – Each Way Extra At bet365 Handicap (3.00, Thursday)

The first big handicap of the Newmarket meeting is for 3-year-olds only and I’m very much in the camp of topweight Jumby who brings some very strong handicap form to the table.

Eve Johnson Houghton and her team must think an awful lot of this colt because they deemed him worthy of a place in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, where his chance was compromised by heavy ground.

We didn’t get to see Jumby at his best that day but the form of his two handicap runs so far reads particularly well and they give him major claims now back on better ground.

Jumby was well backed to make a winning handicap debut on the Rowley Mile in April and a smoother run through might have seen him justify the market support. However, that form could hardly have worked out any better given the two horses in front of him both won at Royal Ascot next time.

Jumby made up for that defeat by scoring back on the Rowley Mile next time, coming clear of the pack with the runner-up, with subsequent York winner First Folio back in fifth.

A strong finisher, Jumby looks ideally suited to the strong pace of a 6f handicap and he looks classy enough to concede weight all round.

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Naamoos 10/1 – Sir Henry Cecil Stakes (4.10, Thursday)

Naamoos was ridden too close to a strong pace in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot but Mark Johnston’s colt is worth another chance to build on his runaway Esher Cup performance at Sandown.

This is a warm Listed contest despite the relatively small field but there looks a real possibility that Naamoos and Ben Curtis can get their own way out in front and that could prove crucial, especially if Curtis can get the fractions right.

The son of Wootton Bassett looked a relentless galloper when making all at Sandown on his penultimate start and he looked to be holding Rifleman, who jinked and unseated Ryan Moore when trying to challenge in the final furlong.

Mark Johnston, who won this race with Lumiere in 2016, clearly still holds group-race aspirations for this colt because he’s in the Celebration Mile at Glorious Goodwood so connections will be disappointed if he can't run a big race in Listed company.

Maximal has the beating of Naamoos on their Ascot run but Sir Michael Stoute’s colt was ridden to best effect that day, unlike the selection.


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Desert Dreamer 8/1 – Duchess of Cambridge Stakes (2.25, Friday)

On the face of it, Desert Dreamer has a bit on her plate stepping back up in class, but there are good reasons to believe that the Stuart Williams-trained filly can give a very good account in this Group 2 contest.

The daughter of Oasis Dream might well have won a Listed over this course and distance at the backend of last month had she not been caught behind a wall of horses after a slow start. She flew home down the middle of the track once in the clear but the winner, who came up the stands’ rail, got first run.

Desert Dreamer is clearly fully effective on the July Course and connections might have been using that as a ‘sighter’ for this more prestigious contest.

A length away in third that day was Cachet, who had previously got within three lengths of Sandrine in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, so a line through Cachet gives Desert Dreamer a fighting chance of giving Sandrine a real run for her money at four times the price.

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Lady Bowthorpe 7/1 – Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes (3.35, Friday)

The single best piece of form in this race is brought to the table by Lady Bowthorpe, whose Lockinge Stakes second to Palace Pier sets a high bar here.

Lady Bowthorpe wasn’t able to repeat that level of performance when turned over by Indie Angel in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot but she was ridden much closer to the pace that day which may well have proved her undoing because they went hard and set things up for a closer.

Lady Bowthorpe is best coming off a strong gallop over a stiff mile so she could get the perfect set-up with a big field looking likely for this Group 1 prize.

The pick of the 3-year-olds are Coronation Stakes one-two Alcohol Free and Snow Lantern but preference would be for the latter given she has more scope providing she can settle.



Kingmania 6/1 – Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa Fillies' Handicap (2.25, Saturday)

Kingmania has been described by connections as a ‘big, raw filly’ which increases confidence that this daughter of Kingman still has more to give despite having won three handicaps on the bounce.

She’ll need to if she is to overcome a 6lb rise for her Doncaster success but she was well on top that day and this filly looks more than ready for the rise in class.

A winner of three 7-furlong contests on the bounce, Kingmania tends to finish her races strongly which bodes well for her prospects here given they are likely to go a good gallop and she should relish the stiff finish of the July Course.

Connections also have her entered in a mile handicap at Ascot on the same day but either way, this progressive filly looks capable of rating higher than 86 so she's a major player in whichever race she turns up in.


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