David Ord has a horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's Darley July Cup and he fancies Dream Of Dreams to land a first success at Group One level.
BRANDO: Placed in the last two renewals including when chasing home U S Navy Flag in 2018 so we know this test is right up his street. Arrives here off the back of a win at Hamilton too, a comfortable success over Donjuan Triumphant. Returns to deeper waters here but has solid place claims again.
CAPE BYRON: Won the Wokingham in the style of a Group horse in a handicap and quickly gets the chance to prove it. Ascot was his first run at a sprint trip and he's completely unexposed in this discipline, but he'll want them to go a good clip as the big field, strong gallop scenario really plays to his strengths.
DREAM OF DREAMS: Gone from strength to strength this season, progressing from a Chelmsford minor event to a fast-finishing second to Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee in only three runs. That would be the best recent form going into this and he arrives here a horse at the absolute peak of his powers. Deserves to head the market.
GLORIOUS JOURNEY: A rare Charlie Appleby runner who doesn’t carry the royal blue silks of Godolphin (albeit he does wear the maroon and white ones made famous by their founder). He seemed light on excuses when beaten by Dream Of Dreams on his return at Windsor and didn’t take a leap forward when shaking up Limato in the Criterion Stakes next time.
LIM'S CRUISER: Useful sprinter in Singapore but cut little ice behind Blue Point and Dream Of Dreams in the Diamond Jubilee. Trainer feels there's two or three lengths improvement in him this time but he needs to find a fair chunk more than that.
LIMATO: Goes very well at this track and struck here again in the Criterion last month. Deserves his place in the line-up and another who could hit the frame but he isn’t quite the force of old and is vulnerable to those in their prime.
MAJOR JUMBO: Progressed from handicaps to run four solid races at pattern level this term including chasing home Invincible Army in the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes. He deserves to pick up a prize soon but will need his sights lowering from this.
ADVERTISE: Stable under a cloud when he flopped in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas but back with a bang to win the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. First-time blinkers had the desired effect there and will need to work again as he steps in against the older horses but he looks ready for such a test.
TEN SOVEREIGNS: Looked a colt of rich potential when winning the Middle Park last season but failed to last home in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. No excuse on the trip front for his Commonwealth Cup defeat to Advertise (two-and-a-quarter lengths back in fourth) but it’s early days to be writing him off given his powerful team's record at restoring and developing such talents.
FAIRYLAND: Smart filly who won the Lowther and Cheveley Park at two. Ran well to be fifth (beaten three lengths) by Blue Point in the King's Stand and should arguably have been third but for being tightened up at a crucial stage. The return to six furlongs is a definite plus and she’s not one to dismiss lightly if forming part of the Aidan O’Brien team.
PRETTY POLLYANNA: Won the Group One Prix Morny over this trip at two and switches back to sprinting having hit the frame in the Fillies’ Mile and Irish 1000 Guineas since. Stamina might have been stretched beyond breaking point on more testing ground in Coronation Stakes last time and the drop in trip is a logical move. It’s a warm heat as she looks to get her eye back in though.
SO PERFECT: Looks as if this is her optimum trip and she returns to it having seemingly not got home over seven in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. Had previously looked better than ever when taking the Goffs Lacken Stakes at Naas the time before and remains with significant potential as a sprinter – but needs to realise it all right now to win this.
DREAM OF DREAMS looks a solid bet at 7/2 to atone for his agonising Royal Ascot defeat in the Diamond Jubilee and claim a first Group One success. Sir Michael Stoute’s charge is thriving right now and would have been in front in another stride or three at Ascot.
It’s the best recent form on offer and he can prove too strong for Advertise and give his trainer a fourth win in the race and a first since Adjal in 1987.
His main market rival has a couple of lengths in hand of Ten Sovereigns on their running in the Commonwealth Cup but it’s too soon to write off the latter who ran flat last month.
Of the more established sprinters Brando has hit the frame in the last two renewals of this race and arrives here in good form. He could complete a hat-trick.