Roger Varian hoping Cape Byron can stamp class on sprint division in July Cup

Mon 8 Jul 2019

Royal Ascot winner Advertise is among 15 confirmations for the Darley July Cup at Newmarket.

Martyn Meade’s stable star bounced back from a disappointing run in the 2000 Guineas to win the Commonwealth Cup last month in fine style

Diamond Jubilee Stakes runner-up Dream Of Dreams is his chief market rival on Saturday.

Sir Michael Stoute’s five-year-old has taken his form to a new level this season, and came within a head of denying Blue Point his famous Royal Ascot double.

Another one bringing Royal Ascot form is Roger Varian’s Cape Byron, who landed an almighty gamble in the Wokingham but faces a steep rise in grade from handicaps to Group One company.

Varian said: “He ran a number of good races last year when the cards did not fall quite right for him.

“With the way he won the Victoria Cup, he looked like a horse that would be just as comfortable – if not more comfortable – back down a furlong where the field went quicker.

Dream Of Dreams narrowly failed to catch Blue Point
Dream Of Dreams narrowly failed to catch Blue Point

"We were very confident that the Wokingham was set up lovely for him and it proved to be that way.

"It was the most dominant display of his career. We had made a July Cup entry for him a number of weeks before Ascot, so we had it in our mind he could be very good over this trip."

He added: "There are some nice horses in the race but you could argue that there is not a sprinter stamping his authority on the division at the moment.

"It is an open year and a good year to have a runner in the race.

Aidan O’Brien’s Ten Sovereigns was unbeaten at two but failed to stay in the Guineas and was behind Advertise at Ascot, so now has something to prove.

All The King’s Men, Fairyland and So Perfect could also all go for Ballydoyle while Joseph O’Brien could run Speak In Colours.

Limato, the winner in 2016, has been left in along with Brando, who has gone close a few times in this race for Kevin Ryan and is accompanied at this stage by stablemate Major Jumbo.

Michael Bell’s filly Pretty Pollyanna, Charlie Appleby’s Glorious Journey, Andrew Balding’s Donjuan Triumphant and the overseas raider Lim’s Cruiser complete the list.

One notable absentee will be Invincible Army, who has the Prix Maurice de Gheest as his next likely target after being taken out of the Newmarket feature.

He started the season in great form winning at Doncaster and York, but disappointed slightly at Royal Ascot.

Tate told Nick Lightfoot more about Invincible Army before his run at Royal Ascot

James Tate wasted no time in getting him back out again quickly for the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle, which he won under a penalty, and he is now keen to keep him on flatter tracks.

“He’s been taken out of the July Cup and is likely to go for the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville and then Haydock I think,” said Tate.

“I think a flat track and a nice surface are important to him – at Ascot the last couple of furlongs are a bit uphill. It was loose, fast, cut-up ground and didn’t play to his strengths.

“The Tapeta on the flat Newcastle track suited him and I think Deauville will suit him well – hence probably there and then Haydock.

“He has won at Ascot, in the Pavilion last year, but he was helped by the ground that day. It was the first meeting of the season and it was on the easy side.

“While he did beat the future Commonwealth Cup winner (Eqtidaar), he probably wasn’t wound up and it might not have taken much winning.

“His better form is at Haydock, Doncaster, Newcastle and York which are all similar configurations.”

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