July Cup 2018: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

The July Cup is the feature race at Newmarket on Saturday
The July Cup is the feature race at Newmarket on Saturday
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Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's July Cup at Newmarket, and pick out their 1-2-3...

"Extra furlong here no problem and looks a worthy favourite..."

Timeform on Blue Point

1. BLUE POINT (CHARLIE APPLEBY/WILLIAM BUICK)
Successful twice at Ascot in 2017, in Pavilion Stakes (beat Harry Angel by one and a half lengths) and Bengough Stakes (by half-length from Projection), both over this trip, and made good reappearance at Meydan in February. Things didn't go to plan at Sha Tin next time, but proved better than ever to win 5f King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last time by one and three quarter lengths from Battaash. Extra furlong here no problem and looks a worthy favourite.

2. BRANDO (KEVIN RYAN/TOM EAVES)
Won Abernant Stakes on Rowley Mile on reappearance in April (for second year running, by three quarters of a length from Sir Dancealot). Good two lengths second to Harry Angel in Duke of York Stakes next start, but below form at the Curragh 10 days later. Freshened up since and finished third in this race last year, so bold bid no surprise.

3. DREAMFIELD (JOHN GOSDEN/JAMES DOYLE)
Well-related colt who won first three starts, most notably handicap at Ascot in May after 569 days off the track. Couldn't justify skinny odds (2-1 favourite in 28-runner handicap) in Wokingham at Royal Ascot last time, but shaped very well, just a lack of experience and poor draw counting against him. Clearly held in high regard and commands plenty of respect.

4. INTELLIGENCE CROSS (AIDAN O'BRIEN/PADRAIG BEGGY)
Smart performer who was flattered to finish where he did when fifth in this race 12 months ago. Ran best race for a while when nose second to Fleet Review in listed race at the Curragh last time, but even best form leaves him with plenty to find here.

5. LIMATO (HENRY CANDY/HARRY BENTLEY)
Very smart performer who won this race in 2016 and finished runner-up 12 months ago. Won Challenge Stakes (7f) on Rowley mile final start in 2017 but has gone with little zest in both Lockinge Stakes and Queen Anne both starts this season, both over 1m. Perhaps not the force of old, but return to sprinting may help and no shock to see an improved effort.

6. REDKIRK WARRIOR (DAVID & B HAYES/TOM DABERNIG/REGAN BAYLISS)
Middle-distance performer for William Haggas in 2014 but developed into high-class sprinter since. Won Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February and Newmarket Handicap there (by short head from Brave Smash) in March, but disappointed when well-fancied (4/1 joint second-favourite) for Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last time. Capable of better and folly to discount, but has something to prove now.

7. SIR DANCEALOT (DAVID ELSWORTH/GERALD MOSSE)
As good as ever when deservedly winning first pattern race in Group 3 Criterion Stakes over 7f here last time, taking a while to settle but coming home strongly. This race should suit, but career-best needed.

8. SPIRIT OF VALOR (AIDAN O'BRIEN/DONNACHA O'BRIEN)
Smart performer who won 7f Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh (by one and three quarter lengths from So Beloved) in 2017, and finished second in Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh (length behind Merchant Navy) in May. Below form when eight lengths eighth to same rival in Diamond Jubilee last time, doing too much too soon, and has a bit to find with principals.

9. EQTIDAAR (SIR MICHAEL STOUTE/JIM CROWLEY)
Well-made, attractive colt who promised much on his first two starts this season, and built on that when winning Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot last time by half a length from Sands of Mali. Strong pace suited him, and was probably in front soon enough, so will need to improve further up against his elders for first time. Not impossible, though.

10. FLEET REVIEW (AIDAN O'BRIEN/WAYNE LORDAN)
Well-made colt who won listed race at the Curragh last time by nose from Intelligence Cross, rallying to lead final strides. Well beaten by Eqitdaar in Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot the time before, though, and has plenty to find on form here.

11. INVINCIBLE ARMY (JAMES TATE/P. J. MCDONALD)
Sturdy colt who won Pavilion Stakes at Ascot (by one and a half lengths from Eqtidaar) in May before finishing second in Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock (nose behind Sands of Mali) later that month. That form franked since, but underperformed himself in Commonwealth Cup last time. Best judged on previous efforts, though, and not discounted as a result.

12. SANDS OF MALI (RICHARD FAHEY/PAUL HANAGAN)
Won Group 3 Prix Sigy at Chantilly in April and Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock (by nose from Invincible Army) in May. Ran right up to best when half-length second to Eqitdaar in Commonwealth Cup last time, again impressing with how well he travelled. Should continue to give a good account.

13. SIOUX NATION (AIDAN O'BRIEN/SEAMIE HEFFERNAN)
Big, good-bodied colt who won maiden at Cork, Norfolk Stakes (5f) at Royal Ascot and Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh (by half a length from Beckford) in 2017. Also won Lacken Stakes at Naas (by one and three quarter lengths from Fleet Review) in May, but big disappointment in Commonwealth Cup last time. That clearly not his true running and well worth another chance given connections.

14. U S NAVY FLAG (AIDAN O'BRIEN/RYAN MOORE)
Won four times at two, notably Middle Park Stakes over this trip and 7f Dewhurst Stakes (by two and a half lengths from Mendelssohn), both on Rowley Mile. Best effort this season when runner-up in Irish 2000 Guineas and did too much too soon in St James's Palace at Royal Ascot last time. Well worth a crack at sprinting again and could surprise a few.


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