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On the third and final day of Newmarket’s Boodles July Festival, which is second to only the Guineas meeting in prestige at Headquarters, the feature race in the July Cup Stakes, which will take place at 16:35.
Officially known as the Pertemps Network July Cup Stakes, this race will be run over six furlongs. It is a Group 1 contest for three-year-old’s and above.
July Cup Stakes 2023 Odds and Favourites
Nine horses are due to go to post for this Group 1 race, four of which are closely grouped in the early betting.
Latest July Cup Stakes Odds:
Kinross – 11/4 (3.75)
Shaquille – 3/1 (4.00)
Azure Blue – 7/2 (4.50)
Little Big Bear – 9/2 (5.50)
Khaadem – 16/1 (17.00)
Vadream – 20/1 (21.00)
Art Power – 22/1 (23.00)
Run To Freedom – 33/1 (34.00)
Emaraaty Ana – 40/1 (41.00)
Best odds taken for each horse from a selection of bookmakers, including William Hill, bet365, betfair, Ladbrokes, SkyBet, Betfred, PaddyPower, BetVictor and Unibet.
Top Favourites to Win the July Cup Stakes
As the odds for this race show, there’s little between four horses, and on first inspection, it really does look like the winner comes from the following quartet.
Ralph Beckett’s runner went on something of a crazy winning streak towards the end of last season, winning four races on the spin between August and October, landing back-to-back Group 1 races at Longchamp (France) and Ascot. He also finished less than a length behind the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
It was always going to be a big ask for the six-year-old to return from 231 days off the track at Ascot last time out and he ran as well as could be expected, but he ought to take a sizable stride forward here. Has rock-solid form and is a huge contender.
On the subject of winning streaks, Shaquille comes into this race enjoying one of his own, winning five on the bounce. He jumped from winning a handicap at this venue to winning a Listed race here in May, getting the job done in relatively straightforward fashion.
The three-year-old then went on to show himself to be capable of even more when winning in a Group 1 at Royal Ascot last time out, beating Little Big Bear by one and a quarter lengths. That form is not to be ignored, nor is the fact that he’s won on soft ground.
This really is the race of horses who’ve enjoyed themselves in quick succession, as Azure Blue brings another winning streak to the table, one that culminated in a Group 2 win at York back in May. The filly beat Highfield Princess on that occasion and we know that that’s not easy to do. She’s looked progressive and may yet have more to give, though she’ll likely need to pull out a tad more against the boys here.
Little Big Bear
Aidan O’Brien’s highly thought of colt was humbled a little bit at Royal Ascot. Sure, his second to Shaquille was certainly respectable, but bit things were expected of this horse, who was sent off as the 10/11 favourite for that Commonwealth Cup. When push comes to shove, he wasn’t quite good enough. He is entitled to renewal the rivalry here, though it’s not difficult to think that the soft ground is a bigger negative for him that Shaquille. After all, he disappointed on a soft surface at this venue in the Guineas, so it’s probably fair to say that he has a little bit to prove here.
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