Lets All Go Alcohol Free as She Wins the July Cup as Inspiral has No Inspiration
The Newmarket July Racing Festival over the three days produced some great results for the fillies. Following the big Aachen week last week, sport horse competition took a breather. In the United States the Belmont races were run in New York and in France, than annual Deauville jamboree got underway. The main show jumping event was at Spruce Meadows for the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
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In Newmarket a plethora of decent races were on offer over the three days including two Group 1 prestigious races – The Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes for fillies and mares over a straight mile; and the jewel of the Newmarket Festival of racing – The Darley July Cup, a sprint race over 6 furlongs and which again attracted a truly international field. The favourite, by some way in the Falmouth Stakes was the John and Thady Gosden trained Inspiral.
She was thus far unbeaten in her five outings so far and winner of the Coronation Stakes at Ascot three weeks ago and her first run of the season. With only five runners, the race was bound to be a very tactical affair. It certainly did not look a particularly strong renewal of the race, but Christophe Head sent over Sibila Spain from France to take her chance. She is a 4 year old, Group 2 winner of the Prix du Muguet at Saint Cloud in Paris last time out. She was ridden by Aurelien Lemaitre – her usual jockey. In the race, this filly took a keen hold and ran out of petrol 2 furlongs out and came last. Primo Bacia ridden by Richard Kingscote and trained in Newmarket by Ed Walker also took a keen hold at the off and was outpaced coming in fourth. Andrew Balding sent Sandrine to try her luck, a 3 year old filly and winner of Duchess of Cambridge Stakes Group 2 as a 2 year old at this meeting last year, so there was no doubt she would like the track. She briefly led the race 2 furlongs out but was over hauled by the first two home, eventually coming third. Inspiral, the hot favourite and expected easy winner, simply did not turn up to the races. She was very flat when Frankie Dettori asked her for her effort, and although she did lead the field in a rather lack lustre way, the winner, who ran the race from the front – Prosperous Voyage ridden by Rob Hornby and trained by Ralph Beckett – was more than capable of racing back past the so called wonder filly to win with reasonable ease.
In the July Cup over 6 furlongs, there were 13 runners out to take their chance., and this looked a much stronger contest more fitting as Group 1 than the Falmouth. There were several to have claimed on this one including Artoris, sent over by Anthony and Sam Freedman from Australia. Japan, always keen to run their top horse throughout the world, sent over King Hermes from Yoshito Yahagi’s stable near Tokyo. The other 11 runners were from British or Irish stables and one of the more interesting runners was last year’s Sussex Stakes winner Alcohol Free, a mile Group 1 race at Goodwood trained by Andrew Balding. She was being raced back at six furlongs rather than the mile for the first time in a long while. Charlie Appleby had a couple of live contenders in Naval Crown and Creative Force, both top Group winners around the globe. The favourite was a 3 year old colt who was winner at the Royal Meeting – The Group 1 Commonwealth Cup. This is Perfect Power trained by Richard Fahey and ridden by Christophe Soumillon. Naval Crown took them off after an even break to lead and was intent on winning from pillar to post. Artoris, who was expected to blaze the trail rather dwelt at the start and had to push on to get a position as was the case with Alcohol Free.
Alcohol Free was soon pushed along to gain a decent mid race position as was Creative Force. In the final furlong, the touted Perfect Power, who was always held in the rear was asked to rally, but to no avail, and he just cruised in near the back of the field. Artoris and Creative Force got themselves in a decent position to take the race but the filly from Andrew Balding came through with a late run and burst of speed to thwart them all, thus Alcohol Free won with Naval Crown second and Artoris third, closely followed by Creative Force. This was a remarkable double for the relatively unknown jockey Rob Hornby – winning both Group 1 races at the meeting.
At Belmont Park in The United States, Frankie Dettori, whose much talked about recent split with the Gosden camp, turned up to ride Nations Pride for Charlie Appleby in the Grade 1 Caesar’s Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes over 1 mile 2 furlongs. Of the twelve runners, three were sent as raiders from Europe. Along with Nations Pride, Aidan O’Brien sent over Stone Age and Mark and Charlie Johnston sent over Royal Patronage. All three were beaten by the home bred and trained Classic Causeway by the prolific stallion Giants Causeway. He won by just ¾ of a length for Kenneth McPeek and ridden by Julian Leparoux. Frankie was second with Nations Pride and Stone Age with Ryan Moore on board was third. Royal Patronage was fifth.
In France, Deauville’s summer season of racing got underway with just the first day and one Group 1 race, the Haras d’Etreham Prix Jean Prat over 7 furlongs. As per normal, the Deauville track was on the soft side of good. This held no difficulties for the Aidan O’Brien trained Tenebrism who was held in mid division before going out in the last 100 yards to take the race and win by 1 ¼ lengths. Ryan Moore, the jockey must have had no sleep at all, having flown straight to Deauville from New York after the Belmont races. The second place was taken by another raider, Light Infantry trained in the UK by David Simcock and ridden by Jamie Spencer. In third, the home team still had no luck as the Richard Hannon trained Lusail took the prize ridden by Pat Dobbs. At last in fourth, the French home team could say they have hit the target in the form of Accakaba trained by C. Ferland with Maxime Guyon on board. The race time was slow by over ½ a second.
In the Canada, there was one 5 star FEI show jumping Grand Prix run at Spruce Meadows. The course was designed by Peter Holmes from Canada. The competition was over one round and a jump off. There were 32 who started in the Queen Elizabth II Cup; and all the clears qualified to go through to the second round. There were only six who went clear along with the next six fastest on the fewest faults from round one to make sure that twelve went in the jump off. In the jump off, there were only three further clears and Paul O’Shea from Ireland riding Imerald Van’t Voorhof went round in the quickest time followed by two from Mexico, Eugenio Garza Perez riding Contago and Patricio Pasquel riding Babel.
The editor Bernard Simpson has been involved with horses and the industry for over 40 years. Together with his wife, he bred many flat racehorses including some which were Royal Ascot winners. He is also experienced in equine media using video, photography and journalism. Bernard currently lives in Wiltshire. He and guest authors now present this blog and hope you like our articles.
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