O'Brien pair look good value to claim July Festival double
Published 07/07/2016 | 02:30
Aidan O'Brien will warm up for a busy weekend on the Group One scene by saddling three contenders on the opening day of the July Festival at Newmarket.
The Ballydoyle genius has declared his 1,000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes third Alice Springs for tomorrow's Falmouth Stakes.
Ballydoyle, second at Newmarket before finishing sixth in the French Oaks, is not among the final field of seven for the £200,000 mile contest, with Euro Charline belatedly ruled out after being retired due to injury.
Andre Fabre's progressive Godolphin-owned Dahlia and Duke Of Cambridge Stakes heroine Usherette is a best-priced 4/5 for the Falmouth, with Alice Springs 8/1 to become the first Irish-based winner of the race since it gained Group One status in 2004.
Air Force One will tackle Saturday's July Cup and the elite firm will be represented on the Belmont Derby card tomorrow night ahead of Landofhopeandglory's bid for German Derby honours at Hamburg on Sunday, so it will be a busy few days for the all-conquering outfit.
Ryan Moore is pencilled in for Alice Springs, and he will partner each of O'Brien's trio on the July Course today.
Housesofparliament and Intelligence Cross are probably the pick of their combinations. In the Bahrain Trophy, Godolphin's Prize Money brings an eye-catching piece of form to the table, having finished second to Saturday's Eclipse victor Hawkbill at Royal Ascot. The Authorized colt is clearly progressing and is entitled to be favourite, but Housesofparliament has also shown a decent level of form.
Although he has just one Dundalk win to his name in six starts, he ran really well to be beaten a couple of lengths by the smart Across The Stars in the King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot.
On stepping up to 12 furlongs, he kept on well, and the suspicion is that he will be even better suited by the furlong-longer trip in this Group Three.
If that proves to be the case, he should give Prize Money plenty to do.
Indeed, they share the same rating of 107, so the fact that Housesofparliament is more than twice as big in the betting at odds of 5/1 looks generous.
Intelligence Cross is also priced up at attractive odds of 13/2 for the Group Two Arqana July Stakes. John Gosden's stylish Windsor Castle winner Ardad is the one to beat in this, with Richard Hannon's Mehmas also sure to be a big player, having got closest to O'Brien's Caravaggio in the Coventry.
Still, Intelligence Cross might be a little underestimated by the layers. The son of War Front was narrowly denied by Grand Coalition on its Curragh bow, before returning to headquarters to run out a decisive winner on Irish Derby weekend.
There was a lot to like about the manner in which Intelligence Cross strode away in the final furlong, and he still has the scope to find much more improvement.
General Macarthur could be up against it in the Listed Henry Cecil Stakes, in which Jessica Harrington also re-introduces Final Frontier.
Successful in its first two starts as a juvenile, Colm O'Donoghue's mount was then beaten five lengths by Air Force Blue in the National Stakes.
He is a colt that could yet prove better than this, although a watching brief might be advisable here.
Preferred is Gosden's Crazy Horse. Likewise a winner of its first two outings as a two-year-old, Crazy Horse then returned to finish sixth behind The Gurkha in the French 2,000 Guineas.
That was a solid turn in good company, so, if he steps forward for it now, he could prove very hard to beat under Frankie Dettori.
In the featured Prince Of Wales's Stakes, The Grey Gatsby is worth keeping on side at odds of around 7/2. Moore and Michael Stoute team up for the Ascot flop Exosphere in this Group Two, but The Grey Gatsby should figure prominently.
Kevin Ryan's grey hasn't won since foiling Australia in the 2014 Irish Champion Stakes, and he is unproven over this 12-furlong trip.
However, there was enough encouragement in his Eclipse return on soft ground to suggest that he could have a big say here under Jamie Spencer on the forecast quicker conditions.