July Cup Preview : Caravaggio Must Not be Opposed In This Valuable And Prestigious Sprint
Event Venue: Newmarket Racecourse, Saturday July 15th at 4.35pm. Live on ITV.See Stats
If Aidan O’Brien says Caravaggio is the fastest horse he has trained the favourite must be a good thing to win the July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday. You can back the horse using one of your bookmaker racing free bets but please note all prices quoted here were correct on Wednesday and are subject to change.
The July Cup is the unofficial championship race for sprinters in Europe. It is run over the straight six furlongs of the Newmarket July course (see Racecourse Guide) and is a weight for age Group 1 contest. Younger and female horses receive weight from the other runners so Caravaggio carries nine stone, six pounds less than his nearest market rivals.
In recent years the race has become a punter’s paradise. The last three winners were the starting price favourite or joint favourite. Over the last 10 years the average SP of the winner is 6/1 but bookmakers may offer odds enhancements for the highlight of the weekend. Five favourites or joint favourites have prevailed since 2008, including Limato last year.
Caravaggio was backed all week and could start odds-on but the best price is currently 11/10 with Skybet. Bookmakers report that the horse is their biggest loser on Saturday when there are three meetings live on ITV and a decent card at Chester. It’s a case of feast or famine as there is only ordinary fare the following day but tracks protect their Saturday cards due to attendances and income.
Caravaggio was an impressive winner of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot but that race was confined to three-year-olds. He is racing against older horses for the first time and the weight allowance could be crucial. Caravaggio looks capable of beating older horses off level weights so looks a massive runner with the allowance.
The market leader is unbeaten in six races and has been mentioned as one of Coolmore’s best horses ever and they have won the Derby seven times, including this year with Wings of Eagles. The trainer is prone to exaggeration but Caravaggio justified the hype at Ascot and can remain unbeaten after the July Cup.
Limato (5/1 with bet365) won the race last year and the horse’s trainer, Henry Candy, has spotted a potential chink in Caravaggio’s armour. He has not expanded but Limato will have to be some horse to beat Caravaggio carrying six pounds more than the favourite. The horse was slightly unlucky in defeat to The Tin Man in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
That Royal Ascot contest is usually a good form guide for the July Cup but Caravaggio’s race looked stronger. The horse beat two exceptional opponents in Harry Angel and Blue Point and the former reopposes but is unlikely to reverse the form off level weights again. He is 6/1 with William Hill at the time of writing.
Brando could be the each-way steal of the race and looks overpriced at 20/1 with Paddy Power. The horse is not far behind The Tin Man on previous Group 1 form and was impressive at Newmarket on his seasonal debut. However, that still leaves Brando something to find with Caravaggio, especially with the extra six pounds burden.
It seems inconceivable that Caravaggio will fail to win the July Cup with the weight for age allowance and that means the favourite must be backed to win the 2017 renewal at the headquarters of Flat racing.
CARAVAGGIO has the form and weight conditions to win the July Cup.
- The race has had Group 1 status since 1978.
- The winner is often recognised as the best sprinter in Europe.
- The race is the sixth leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.
- The only three times winner dates back to 1902 to 1904 and the last dual winner prevailed in 1958 and 1959.
- Lester Piggott is the leading jockey with 10 wins.
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