July Festival Diary: Good Advice sets up Sky Bet Ebor tilt

King's Advice wins again under Joe Fanning
King's Advice wins again under Joe Fanning

Ben Linfoot was on hand at Newmarket on Friday to get the latest fallout from the meeting while gathering some snippets for Saturday's racing.

Friday's Newmarket reports

Linfoot/O’Brien

A quick interview with Aidan O’Brien ahead of the July Cup and the Grand Prix de Paris won’t go down in history – Frost/Nixon this was not – but he’s a busy man and there just wasn’t time for probing questions, okay?

For what it’s worth the full transcript is below. He’s happy with them all. The vibe was he’s most excited about Fairyland in the July Cup and when I say vibe, I mean he was less coy about her than the other two.

He said: “We’ve been very happy with Ten Sovereigns since Ascot. He was in good form before Ascot as well.

“Fairyland ran well last time, she had very good form over six last year and she looked like she wanted to step back up the last day. All her wins last year were over six.

“We were trying to stretch So Perfect to seven or a mile but I think six will be her ideal trip as well.”

And as for Japan in the Grand Prix de Paris…

“Japan’s good, everything has been fine with him since Ascot and obviously the plan was to go Longchamp.

“We were happy with him at Ascot, his run before that was very good, he made good progress from York to Epsom and obviously we felt he made progress from Epsom to Ascot. He had a setback in the spring and was barely ready to run at York.”

A full stable tour from Ballydoyle will not follow this bulletin.

Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly

Roger Varian had a couple of disappointments on Friday but he’s still got an intriguing big gun to fire at this meeting.

I say disappointments, but while you could bracket Qabala in that category it’s a tad harsh on Daahyeh.

Yes, she lost her unbeaten record, but she ran a good race in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes and Varian remains hopeful there is plenty more to come from her.

He said: “She ran a good race, we don’t think she’s lost anything about her reputation in defeat.

“It’s a shame she couldn’t get to the winner’s quarters as she had to come around into the middle of the track, but nothing was falling away quick enough in front.

“She galloped all the way to the line and she might get seven. She’s run all three starts like she’ll get seven, she’s got a fast pedigree, but she’s shaping as though she’ll get further so that’s exciting it might unlock a bit more improvement.

“She’s got all the options, so we’ll see where we go.”

The big gun is Cape Byron in the Darley July Cup, the tremendous Wokingham winner who hosed up off a mark of 107 on his first ever run over six furlongs.

Can he make the leap to Group One company on just his second start over the distance, Roger?

“We’ll find out tomorrow,” he said. “I think we’ll all agree, winning the Wokingham in the style he did off that weight was a group performance, quite which group and where he’ll slot in tomorrow we’ll have to find out.

“He’s never run in this company before, but I’m pretty hopeful he’ll compete very well. He’s a fast horse and he’s in good form. Let’s see what happens.”

Cape Byron is a clear-cut winner of the Wokingham
Cape Byron is a clear-cut winner of the Wokingham

Telecaster (is likely) to miss rest of the season

Telecaster.

Brilliant in the Dante, poor in the Derby, disappointing in the Eclipse.

But that Dante win. There’s a good horse in there somewhere. Hughie Morrison is keeping the faith and he stays in training at four – even if he’s not likely to be seen until then.

“He’s fine,” Morrison said. “I think we’ll give him a really good holiday now. He’s just a big baby and I think we realise now that he probably needs a good break to mature.

“His body is not quite up to backing these races up and he didn’t finish off his race in the Eclipse. You haven’t seen the horse that won the Dante the last two times I can assure you that.

“I suspect we’ll leave him until next year now. It’s possible you could see him in the autumn, but I doubt it, he needs time.”

Hopefully he can bounce back next year. He made some impression at York in May.

Hughie’s Korcho catches the eye

One for your My Stable trackers now as Morrison’s Korcho ran a belter when finishing runner-up in the opening bet365 Handicap.

He travelled well and drifted to his left late on, but was ridden considerately by Kerrin McEvoy (this is not a criticism) and you sense he’s an improving horse with more to come.

Morrison said: “It looked as though he might not be able to compete in this type of race but that was a big step forward.

“He was up 9lb which was a hell of a hike so it’s nice having a progressive, fun, handicapper and he’s kept improving.

“The ground was probably quick enough for him as well, but he’s a nice horse, I just hope I can keep him in one piece.

“There are plenty of valuable handicaps to have a go at.

“His half-brother won the Cambridgeshire, he’s by Diktat and this fellow is by Toronado, from a Lochsong family, so it’s a surprise he gets a trip but he’s just a lovely horse.”

I like him. He’s one to keep an eye on.

Millions in mind

Sky Bet Ebor clues were aplenty at Newmarket today.

The most obvious one was the ultra-impressive King’s Advice, a remarkable horse that’s won seven races now this season for Mark Johnston.

He was very good in the bet365 Trophy, keeping on to win by two-and-a-half lengths from a mark of 101.

That should ensure the son of Frankel gets in the £1m Sky Bet Ebor comfortably and Team Johnston are likely to have a three-pronged attack in the big handicap, with Baghdad and Austrian School also running for the dough.

King’s Advice is a 16/1 chance with the sponsors, but Ian Williams’ Gold Mount is shorter at 14/1 on the back of his win in the Sky Bet Grand Cup at York last time.

He runs at York on Saturday – in the Group 3 John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes – but Williams insists that this is not another look at the Knavesmire before an Ebor tilt.

“He’s in great form, he came out of his last race at York in good form,” he said. “This is a step up, he’ll be taking on fitter horses, but he’s got the benefit of been in the country a little bit more time, he’s settled in, looks well and physically I couldn’t be happier with him.

“This could realistically be his last race in the UK. He was sent to us with a view of running in Australia and so far we’ve probably achieved as much as we need to, so this could very easily be his last run in this country.”

Come on, Ian. It’s a million quid and he might have two course successes to his name on Saturday!

“The Ebor prizemoney is a lure, but it’s not the plan at the moment,” he stressed. “The Ebor is not totally ruled it out, it’s just not on the agenda at this stage. Australia remains the plan.”

King’s Advice, all being well, will run in the Sky Bet Ebor. Gold Mount, it seems, will not. Ante-post bettors, please take note*.

*Trainers have been known to change their minds.


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