The July Festival bursts into life on Saturday with its showpiece event, the July Cup. The countdown has already begun to one of the most eagerly anticipated horse races on the calendar and, with no clear favourite emerging from the stables, it promises to be a classic race.
Where: Newmarket, England
When: Saturday, 13th February
Time: 10:50 a.m ET
We all know there’s no fun in horse racing without the accompanying predictions, so it’s only right that we have a crack. This is how the drama is going to unfold.
Shea Shea Victorious
The South African galloped away from the field in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot before succumbing to Sole Power, who also goes in the race, at the last. That experience though will only serve to improve the Mike de Kock-trained horse who had previously won four out of five races.
The Racing Post reports the six-furlong distance might not suit Shea Shea, an issue also raised by the Guardian, but in an interview with the site, de Kock’s assistant Steve Jell said: “I would say five furlongs is his best trip but he won over seven with his previous trainer in South Africa so he will stay.”
Expect a lightning start that pulls him clear of the field before the others slowly, and then quite quickly, reel him in. But Shea Shea will make it to the line ahead of the rest. Just.
Krypton Factor Places
This five-year-old gelding doesn’t know anything but consistency. With three third-placed finishes in his last four outings, it is odd the bookies don’t appear to rate Krypton Factor’s chances—the Fawzi Abdulla Nass-trained horse is listed in the midfield.
But Nass was in a confident mood when quizzed by the National over his horse’s chances: “He is in very good form, although this is one of the toughest races he has faced.” In his opinion, Krypton Factor’s best hope is for a fast pace from the off. With Shea Shea already highlighted as a potential fast starter, and second favourite Lethal Force also known for pushing the tempo on, this race should play perfectly into their hands.
Expect a sapping opening three furlongs with Shea Shea and Lethal Force trying to break each other before Krypton Factor leapfrogs the fading latter right on the finish line.
Gale Force Ten Disaster
At first glance, the signs look promising for Gale Force Ten: a successful 2013, including a highly impressive win in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, and a field that lacks a clear favourite.
It is a horse with serious pedigree. The problem is that Gale Force Ten appears to be ridden best by trainer Aidan O’Brien’s son Joseph O’Brien. The man handed the reins for this Newmarket venture is Ryan Moore, who could only manage fourth—Gale Force Ten’s lowest finish of 2013—when he took to O’Brien’s saddle. Moore has struggled to find consistency in recent days and is why this horse won’t quite be up to standards come race time.
Having said all that, Frankie Dettori still believes O’Brien’s colt has what it takes for victory and instead identifies Shea Shea as the one to struggle.
Whatever happens, it’ll be a pulsating race that’s sure to go down to the final furlong. Enjoy.