Fran Berry column ahead of July Cup and John Smith's Cup day

Raheen House is fancied this weekend
Raheen House is fancied this weekend

Fran Berry has a strong fancy at York on Saturday while he thinks Aidan O'Brien could be celebrating another Darley July Cup success.

History in the making...

What can you add about Enable? She was fantastic in the Coral-Eclipse and it’s got to that stage now where we’ve just got to enjoy her while she’s still around.

Frankie pointed out after the race that all of her wins have come on different tracks – even the two Arcs – and it just goes to show her versatility and sheer dominance of the middle-distance division.

I thought she might be vulnerable over the trip but after a furlong she was already in pole position and Frankie was able to track the Ballydoyle pace-maker. They were never going to reel her in from that point.

It was unfortunate to hear the news about Sea Of Class the day after but it was great to see Enable back on track last Saturday and it’s hard to see her being beaten – the kind of feeling you got when Frankel was racing.

The jury is still out on the three-year-old crop, with Japan perhaps the best of them going forward, and we are realistically looking at the first triple Arc winner if all goes well between now and October as they seem to have had a clear run with her and I can only imagine she’ll progress.

On the same Sandown card it was good to see Kurious win for Henry Candy and she’s a sprinter to follow now, while Falcon Eight ground out victory for Dermot Weld and Dettori.

I see he was entered in the Sky Bet Ebor which could be an interesting move but I’d be worried the horse doesn’t quite have the tactical speed for a race like that and he looks every inch a Cup horse for next season. No doubt Dermot will continue to nurture him wisely.

Roscommon eyecatchers

It was Roscommon’s main Flat day of the summer on Monday and while there were only four horses for the Listed race it did produce an exciting finish.

It went the way of Downdraft who was a bit unlucky not to finish closer in the big handicap at Ascot. He won well and showed a very good turn of foot on the night. He’s owned by Australian connections who could have some exciting days ahead.

Another to keep an eye out for from Roscommon is Perry Owens, a Free Eagle colt who ran well in third first time out for Noel Meade. He got excited before the race and should be a lot more street-wise next time wherever he turns up.

I was on duty at the track and Lady Stormborn was another one to take from the meeting. She’s a well-bred daughter of Camelot and was the standout on looks before the fillies’ maiden. She ran extremely well to be third and should be well up to winning races.

Fairy-tale ending

Onto this weekend and despite the odd spot of rain around we should be looking at quick ground for the Darley July Cup at Newmarket.

It looks a very open race and an exciting clash of generations. Advertise bounced back to form to win the Commonwealth Cup and Ten Sovereigns is clearly expected by many to reverse that form this weekend.

I’m not sure I rate the Commonwealth Cup form particularly highly, though, and much prefer the Diamond Jubilee and the King’s Stand as a guide.

Dream Of Dreams is entitled to be right at the top of the betting after pushing Blue Point close but I wonder if Blue Point might have found a bit more had he got level.

Ten Sovereigns’ stablemate Fairyland is a much bigger price and looks the bet to me after her fine effort in the King’s Stand Stakes. She finished right on the heels of Mab’s Cross there and it was probably a real shock to the system after running over a mile at Newmarket and the Curragh.

This six furlongs should be her best trip and after that highly creditable run at Ascot, it’s clear she wasn’t just a nippy juvenile and has trained on.

Cape Byron is progressive and Limato has done well in a lesser grade over the past year or so but Fairyland has untapped potential as a sprinter and gets the nod.

In the bet365 Bunbury Cup I like the look of Ripp Orf at a big price. He’s a really good horse over this in-between trip of seven furlongs and ran another good race behind Cape Byron in this year’s Victoria Cup, having won it last season.

You can put a line through his Epsom run as the track was dead against him and back on a more conventional course should see him bounce back.

Banker on the Knavesmire

The bet of the weekend though runs at York in the John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes.

Raheen House finished behind Gold Mount here last month and Gold Mount had obviously been magnificently turned out by Ian Williams to win on his British debut.

But Raheen House was having his first outing for William Haggas and looked like the run would bring him on significantly.

He was quite big in the parade ring and it may have just told late on in the race as he travelled as well as the winner. He looks like he’s being trained for the Sky Bet Ebor but won’t go up in the weights much, if at all, for winning this and it’s a valuable pot in its own right.

Jamie Spencer knows the horse well from his younger days with Brian Meehan and it looks a positive booking to see him back on board.

I’d have respect for Gold Mount and Weekender, the latter having made a good return to action in a small field at Chelmsford earlier in the year. But Raheen House had a disappointing campaign last year and based on that comeback effort could be about to return to his peak form from a couple of seasons ago.

The Johns Smith’s Diamond Jubilee Cup Handicap is seriously competitive as ever but I’ll take Pivoine and Jazeel against the field.

Pivoine was an impressive winner of the Sky Bet Handicap last August and looks to have a good draw on Saturday, while Jedd O’Keeffe’s Jazeel did well to win at Sandown last week and they’ve booked Sean Davis to negate much of the 5lb penalty he picks up for winning there.


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