July Cup Antepost Betting: Pretty Pollyanna's price is worth punting

Pretty Pollyana
Pretty Pollyana is Tony's antepost pick.

Tony Calvin is back again and is picking his big-priced bets for the July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday.

"A 3yo filly stepping back in trip is also on my bigger-priced radar in the shape of Pretty Pollyanna, who looks a very fair price at 20/1 on her juvenile form.
In fact, I am going to recommend backing her at 20/1, each way, with the Betfair Sportsbook."

The Darley July Cup doesn't look to have a lot of threatening strength in depth, which is why I wondered whether connections would have considered supplementing Too Darn Hot into the race after his impressive victory in the Prix Jean Prat on Sunday.

Okay, that wouldn't have been the strongest Group 1 ever staged, but he certainly looked more his old self dropped to 7f in beating the Jersey runner-up by 3 lengths, and his 2yo zip and zest was back with a vengeance.

He certainly didn't look short of speed, so I would have been very tempted to go for this winnable prize myself - he would have been favourite - but John Gosden knows better than me (shock horror) and is going back up to a mile next with him, or maybe the Prix Maurice de Gheest after a break, and a six-day turnaround would probably have been pushing it, anyway.

Advertise up first

Commonwealth Cup winner Advertise and Diamond Jubilee runner-up Dream Of Dreams currently head the market at around the 7/2 mark on the exchange - though the Betfair Sportsbook love the chances of the former and make him 9/4 - but it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if Cape Byron, currently 5/1, goes off favourite on Saturday afternoon.

His only previous venture into Pattern Company resulted in him finishing in midfield over 1m1f in a Group 3 at Meydan in January 2018 but, after a wind op and a gelding operation, he has come a long way since, proving himself a very classy 7f/1m handicapper, whose hallmark is a strong-travelling nature.

But his horizons broadened when he was dropped to 6f in the Wokingham last time, as he destroyed the opposition from a mark of 107 in a very quick time and he could be named the winner from a long way out.

Obviously, he meets a much better class of opposition here but the manner in which he tanked through that race - not to mention how he was smashed up in the betting beforehand (he went off at a Betfair Starting Price of just 4.4, having been 9/1 the day before) - and put the race to bed on his first attempt over 6f augured very well for his chances here.

He is totally unexposed as a sprinter and he doesn't have to progress a great deal to be seriously mixing it with the form horses.
This is a pretty quick 6f on the July course, so that is another test for him to overcome, but I suspect he could well be up to it. I am told this has actually been the plan for a while.

The top two in the market don't particularly entice me at the prices.

One of the few bets and tips that came off for me at Royal Ascot was Advertise in the Commonwealth Cup, and a fair part of that logic was the first-time-blinkers that he wore there, as his trainer had an excellent record with that option.


Whether the headgear works a second time here - or indeed, will even be tried - we shall see, but, of course, his chance has to be greatly respected.
He was a high-class, Group 1-winning 2yo, who won the July Stakes here, and he bounced back to that level when winning at Ascot.

I don't think you can go overboard about the bare form but the time was good, and he could well kick on now. It is also worth remembering that his stable was coming out of a very quiet spell just before the Royal meeting.

Can Dream of Dreams step up to the challenge?

Dream Of Dreams has really cranked it up a notch or two this season, and his head second to Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee, well clear of Kachy, was a clear career-best and gives him strong form claims, too.

But whether a quicker 6f will play to his strengths is another matter, I am not sure, and I'm content to give him a swerve at the odds on offer.

Actually, saying "at the odds" is superfluous, as the price is everything, so I will admonish myself later. For now, I will crack on with this column.

We lost the France-bound Invincible Army after the five-day declarations were made at midday on Monday and the race has cut up to just 15 entries, and they unfortunately don't include a 25/1 chance that I had my eye on, City Light.

However, we have a former winner of the race in 2016 scorer Limato and the dual-placed Brando, and both of them come in here on the back of impressive winning efforts last time.

Both have clear claims but the O'Brien boys are coming in relatively mob-handed, with dad Aidan leaving Ten Sovereigns, Fairyland, So Perfect and All The King's Men in, while son Joseph has recent Curragh winner Speak In Colours in the race.

The early betting suggests that 8/1 chance Ten Sovereigns could be the Ballydoyle number one but to me last year's Middle Park winner has something to prove after his fourth to Advertise in the Commonwealth Cup, where he just didn't travel with any real purpose.

Perhaps the expected faster ground will see him in a better light, but he hasn't necessarily shaped like a 6f horse to me, either at Ascot or in the Guineas.

Fairyland keeping it interesting

The fillies are equally interesting getting all the weight, and King's Stand fifth Fairyland could be more interesting than her stablemate at 16/1.
She wasn't far off her best when beaten 3 lengths over 5f at Royal Ascot, and this is a filly who also finished fifth in the 1,000 Guineas. It could well be that 6f is her optimum trip, and she did win the Cheveley Park (and Lowther) over that distance last season, lest we forget.

A 3yo filly stepping back in trip is also on my bigger-priced radar in the shape of Pretty Pollyanna, who looks a very fair price at 20/1 on her juvenile form.
In fact, I am going to recommend backing her at 20/1, each way, with the Betfair Sportsbook.

She would just about be the pick of these weights on her 7-length win in the Duchess Of Cambridge on this course, and her subsequent Group 1 win in the Morny (she didn't quite run up to that level when fourth to Fairyland in the Cheveley Park), as she was officially rated 117 after those successes.

They have tried to stretch her out to a mile this season, but in finishing second to Hermosa in the Irish 1000 Guineas and seventh in the Coronation last time (eased when her chance had gone) she has shaped like a return to shorter would certainly not go amiss.

She has clearly shown she has trained on in those Group 1 performances though, so I think quotes of 20/1 do her a fair disservice, especially with Michael Bell's yard continuing in decent nick, for all she clearly has plenty to prove against battle-hardened sprinters.

She reminds me of a female version of last year's winner US Navy Flag, as he came here after finishing second in the Irish 2000 Guineas and finishing in midfield, after forcing the pace, in the St James' Palace Stakes over a mile at Royal Ascot. He was a Group 1 winner at two as well, over 6f.

I do fear Cape Byron though, but we can talk about a saver on him on Friday

Until then, good luck.

Profit/Loss Total

April 14 2017 to July 5th 2019 inclusive (all recommended exchange bets are settled at Betfair SP)

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