RUNNERS from outside Europe are likely to comprise more than a quarter of the field for the Group One July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday, the £500,000 feature event of the track’s July Festival. Fifteen horses remain after Monday’s five-day declaration stage, including contenders from Australia, South Africa, America and Bahrain, reports GREG WOOD in The Guardian.
Shea Shea, who was touched off by a neck in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot (headline photo), is being aimed by his trainer, Mike de Kock, at a first success in a British Group One event for the South African. His likely opposition includes Sole Power, who beat him over five furlongs at Ascot but has yet to win over the July Cup’s six, as well as Lethal Force, Society Rock and Krypton Factor, the first three home in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the royal meeting.
“Shea Shea has done a fair bit more work since he was beaten by Sole Power at Royal Ascot which will definitely help him,” de Kock said on Monday. “At Ascot he had only been in proper work for five weeks following a month of quarantine. He still did everything but win and was only beaten by a very good horse.
“[His] best and classiest form has been over five furlongs but we have come a long way and we might as well have a go. You never know until you try.”
Shea Shea, who has won at up to seven furlongs in South Africa but has not raced beyond five furlongs since March 2012, is top-priced at 9-2 for Saturday’s race, just ahead of Society Rock and Lethal Force on 5-1. Gale Force Ten, Aidan O’Brien’s Jersey Stakes winner, is a 7-1 chance, while Reckless Abandon, who won the Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes last season, is best at 9-1.
Photo by Hugh Routledge/Rex Features (The Guardian).