13:50 Bahrain Trophy Stakes
The Newmarket July Festival kicks off with a great looking Group 3 for three-year-olds, being run over a mile and five furlongs.
The Roger Charlton-trained Att Persse was an excellent winner of a useful handicap at the Royal Ascot meeting, and he is the current 3/1 to take this one as well. This is quite a bit step up in class, but he won at Ascot in taking style and was running on very well, therefore, the extra furlong here today shouldn't be a problem. He has won a couple of times on good ground and this lightly raced Frankel colt looks to have plenty of improvement in him. I think that James Doyle will ride him prominently throughout and kick for home inside the final quarter of a mile.
Raheen House definitely looks like he is crying out for this extra furlong, as he stayed on very well (without seriously troubling the leaders) to finish fourth behind Permian in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. That was a Group 2 race so he is taking a step down in class in this, and I fully expect him to be challenging here today. Trainer Brian Meehan has a superb record here at Newmarket, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him add to that with Raheen House. I expect a typical Jamie Spencer ride, where he waits at the back of the field before trying to pick them off one by one in the final few furlongs.
Arqana July Stakes
This is a Group 2 for two-year-olds and heading the betting is the game Coventry Stakes winner Rajasinghe. He battled on really well at Ascot after being bumped and the start and it was an impressive performance, which followed on from an easy maiden win on the all-weather at Newcastle. He has been given an official rating of 108 off the back of those two performances, and if he improves again to take this, he will be catapulted right to the head on next year's 2,000 Guineas betting.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Sound And Silence was a good winner of a five-furlong Listed race at Royal Ascot, however, he steps up to six furlongs for the first time today and I have my doubts about whether he will be staying on strongly enough inside the final furlong to be able to keep tabs with a few of his rivals.
Invincible Army is one of two runners for James Tate in this race, and he already has a course and distance win to his name, winning a maiden here last time out. He won that race in very fine style and the fourth placed horse in that race has subsequently won (although it has to be said, not in a great race). It is very tough to know just how good he is, but you get the feeling he would be a point or two shorter in the betting if he represented one of the more powerful yards.
Prince of Wales's Arqana Racing Club Stakes
The second Group 2 of the afternoon is over a mile and a half, and although there are just the seven runners, it has attracted a high-quality field.
Frontiersman is the 13/8 after his excellent performance behind Highland Reel in the Coronation Cup at Epsom. The Coronation Cup is a Group 1 and he is not going to come up against anything of the calibre of Highland Reel today. He now has a rating of 117, and this relatively lightly raced four-year-old can take a further step forward by winning this.
Wings Of Desire ran a satisfactory race at Ascot when finishing fifth in the Hardwicke Stakes. That was his first run for over 300 days and he looks sure to come on for that. Whether or not he is good enough to beat Frontiersman is another matter, however, but with Frankie Dettori back on board I fully expect him to be in the first three.
Poet's Word was only just beaten a neck by Deauville in a Group 3 at Chester (Deauville has since run very well in two Group 1's). There are elements of his breeding that suggest it is entirely possible that he will get the extra two furlongs here, and with Ryan Moore taking the ride he will have plenty of supporters.
Any further rain would have been a huge bonus for Hawkbill, however, the forecast looks very good now and he will do very well to get involved on the drying ground.
Ascot 13:50 - Raheen House - 1 point @ 7/2
Ascot 14:25 - Rajasinghe - 2 points @ 9/4
Ascot 15:35 - Frontiersman - 2 points @ 13/8