Thursday 12 December 2019

Delegator heads July Cup market

Marcus Armytage

GODOLPHIN'S Delegator, which was taken out of the Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot because of the soft ground, will finally get his chance to establish his reputation as a Group One sprinter this week.

The five-year-old appeared to have found his niche when dropped to six furlongs in the Duke of York Stakes in May, and is favourite for the first Saturday running of the Darley July Cup. He was one of 19 horses, including the Australian-trained Star Witness, second and third in the space of five days at Ascot, to be left in the race at the five-day stage. Neither Ascot winners, Prohibit nor Society Rock are in the race.

Delegator will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, who returns on Friday from the nine-day whip ban he picked up on Rewilding at Ascot. "He needs to get out there and run," said Godolphin manager Simon Crisford yesterday. "These Group One sprints don't come along too often and, though there is some sporadic rain forecast, we're hoping we won't have to pull him out again as the chances are it will be good, fast summer ground."

Aidan O'Brien has surprisingly left in Sunday's Chantilly runner-up Zoffany, although he is thought to be more likely to wait for the Prix Maurice de Gheest, and Oracle is the only other Ballydoyle representative.

Roger Charlton has confirmed both Bated Breath and Genki, while David Simcock has left in Dream Ahead.

One of the most interesting aspects of this year's July Cup, feature of Newmarket's three-day July meeting, is how it fits in on Saturday when it goes head-to-head with the John Smith's Cup at York, the £100,000 Summer Mile at Ascot as well as afternoon racing from Chester.

Also on Saturday Michael Bell is hoping to give the Highclere Thoroughbred-owned grey filly Jessica Ennis, which has been showing 'the right signs' at home, her first run in a maiden. The world heptathlete champion, after whom she is named, is a keen racing fan and has, with her fiance Andy Hill, joined the Highclere syndicate which owns the filly.

"I was thrilled when I was invited to become a part-owner of a horse named after me -- what an honour! My fiance and I love horse racing but are complete novices so it is great to link up with Highclere who are hugely experienced. I have yet to meet my namesake but have seen photos," she said.

Edward Lynam's classy sprinter Sole Power is not heading to Newmarket but could take in a Listed race at Tipperary before his bid for back-to-back victories in the Nunthorpe at York on August 19.

The four-year-old was beaten into fifth in Tipperary's Abergwaun Stakes last year but went on to cause a 100/1 shock in the Nunthorpe.

He proved that to be no fluke by winning the Temple Stakes at Haydock earlier this season, and was not disgraced when finishing eighth in the King's Stand at Royal Ascot.

"Everything is good with him. He's just having a little break and we're still aiming him towards the Nunthorpe," said Meath-based Lynam. "There's a chance he could run at Tipperary a couple of weeks beforehand. He did that last year and we might just do it again if we feel we need to get the freshness off him, but we'll see.

"York is everything for this horse, so I'm just praying they don't get rain when the time comes."

Elsewhere, the Richard Hannon camp are hoping Memory will show her true colours for the first time this season when she lines up in Friday's Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket.

The three-year-old filly enjoyed a largely brilliant juvenile campaign and was a strong fancy for the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket. But she lost all chance when standing still as the gates opened, leading many to conclude that she had simply not trained on.

However, the Hannon camp were happy to persevere and she ran a much better race to finish seventh in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on unsuitably soft ground. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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