July Cup Preview: Hello Youmzain can prove his class

Hello Youmzain (right) fought off Sceptical (middle) to win last month's Diamond Jubilee Stakes
Hello Youmzain (right) fought off Sceptical (middle) to win last month's Diamond Jubilee Stakes

Nick Seddon previews this year's July Cup at Newmarket, which features a host of interesting contenders...

The narrative in the build-up to Saturday's big race, as it so usually does, centres around Frankie Dettori, who will try to complete a remarkable feat in winning the July Cup - as it would mean that he has won every single British Group 1 race in the calendar during his career. 

It is a race in which he doesn't have too many happy memories, however, and his ride on the Irish raider Sceptical will be his 22nd attempt at landing the Group 1 prize, and he will be hoping to go one place better than his second on Advertise in this 12 months ago. 

He certainly has one of the plum rides in the field, bearing in mind that the upwardly mobile Sceptical is the highest-rated sprinter in training in Ireland, and he ran with plenty of credit to finish third on his first try in Group 1 company in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.

On the bare form, he has excellent claims of improving on that effort here, though it's interesting that Dettori felt that conditions were a little too soft at Ascot last time, and bearing in mind both that he will likely face soft ground here, and that there will be plenty of competition for the lead for this prominent type, others make more appeal - and Frankie could be left waiting even longer yet. 

One place behind Sceptical at Ascot was Khaadem, whose standout effort came when taking apart the field in last year's Stewards' Cup at Glorious Goodwood.

He looked a Group 1 performer in the making that day, and while he struggled in two subsequent starts at that level last term, he looked much more like the part when beaten just one and a half lengths last month. He's at his best on particularly fast going, however, meaning the sustained rainfall is a concern, and there will be other days for him. 

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Like the above pair, Golden Horde arrives here on the back of some strong form at the Royal meeting, having come out on top in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup. He has outstanding claims here on the back of that form, and there could still conceivably be more to come from him on his seventh outing, though he will likely have plenty of competition for the lead, and is short enough in the betting as the 9/4 favourite at the time of writing - in what looks a wide-open affair. 

Instead, it looks worth siding with Hello Youmzain, who defeated the aforementioned Sceptical and Khaadem last time out. He brings the strongest form to the table as a dual Group 1-winner, and is perhaps overlooked in the market as a consequence. Similar comments apply to him in terms of having plenty of competition for the lead, though he is a particularly game type in front - as he showed last time out - and he should be suited by the conditions.

The four-year-old is building a good rapport with jockey Kevin Stott, and he's fancied to take hold of this division and prove himself a bona fide top-class sprinter by following up. 

Bearing in mind the repeated emphasis on the likely strong pace in tomorrow's early stages, it would be folly to rule out both Brando and Equilateral each-way at big prices. The latter came from off the pace to chase home the electric Battaash in last month's King's Stand Stakes, and would be one to consider if similar tactics were applied here, but he's produced his best form at the minimum trip and instead Brando makes more appeal.

He's a regular in this sphere, placing in this in both 2017 and 2018, and generally needs a strong pace to be seen to best effect. Admittedly, he's into the twilight of his career as an eight-year-old, though he bounced back to form when second in a Group 3 contest at Newcastle last time out, and bearing in mind that he's likely to get optimum conditions here, he looks worth chancing each-way to make a late charge at around 33/1. 

Three more to consider are Oxted, Threat and Sir Dancealot. The first named was a notable winner at Newmarket last month, as he provided his young partner Cieren Fallon Jr. with his first Group success when coming out on top in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes on the Rowley Mile. That was a career best on his first try at that level, and while he's clearly on an upward curve, this looks a big ask now stepped up in class once again.

Threat has had two tries at this level, and while he could only manage fifth in the St James's Palace Stakes last month, that trip perhaps stretched him, and he'd be one to consider if able to build on the smart form he showed as a juvenile last term. 

Meanwhile, Sir Dancealot is a smart type, winning each of the last two renewals of the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, though he would need more here. Instead, it looks worth sticking with Hello Youmzain, who is a proven performer at this level and should be suited by the conditions, while the forecast strong pace could see Brando finishing fast and late. 


July Cup, Newmarket, Saturday 11th July - back Hello Youmzain at 9/2

July Cup, Newmarket, Saturday 11th July - back Brando each-way at 33/1


July Cup
Hello Youmzain silk

Hello Youmzain



July Cup
Brando silk

Brando (EW)

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