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Candy fears Blue Point in Darley July Cup

Trainer Henry Candy has identified Blue Point as the horse to beat in the feature race of the Moët & Chandon July Festival, the Group 1 £500,000 Darley July Cup, at Newmarket’s Adnams July Course on Saturday (14th July).

Candy fears Blue Point in Darley July Cup

Trainer Henry Candy has identified Blue Point as the horse to beat in the feature race of the Moët & Chandon July Festival, the Group 1 £500,000 Darley July Cup, at Newmarket’s Adnams July Course on Saturday (14th July).

Blue Point
Blue Point Picture:Pat Healy Photography

The fourth of seven races in the Sprint category of the QIPCO British Champions Series and the first time that three-year-olds get to take on older horses over six furlongs at Group 1 level, the Darley July Cup has attracted a stellar field of 14 runners, including seven different individual Group 1 winners.


The race has an exceptional pedigree. In 2017 it was rated as the world’s joint top sprint by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities and each of its last five winners have gone on to be crowned as the top European-trained sprinter in the end-of-season World Thoroughbred Rankings.

Candy is hoping that his stable star, Limato, will bounce back to form to become the first horse in the race’s 142-year history to regain the Darley July Cup crown. Limato was a brilliant winner of its 2016 renewal and finished second 12 months ago.

He went on to score a clear-cut success in the seven furlong Group 2 Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes at the neighbouring Rowley Mile Course last October but, stepped up to a mile, he has since come only tenth in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes and 13th in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes.

Blue Point Horseform has been regarded as a fantastic prospect ever since he was placed in two Group 1s - the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes and the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes – as a two-year-old back in 2016. But it took him until the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last month to finally makes his Group 1 breakthrough.

Already a three-time Darley July Cup winner, Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien will be mob-handed with five runners including the dual juvenile Group 1 winner of last autumn, U S Navy Flag, who is another dropping back in trip having been contesting mile races.

The three-year-old generation has five more representatives, spearheaded by Eqtidaar and Sands Of Mali, first and second (separated by half a length) in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Other leading home-trained candidates are Brando, third in this race last year and subsequently successful in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest, and the very lightly-raced Dreamfield, making his initial stakes race start having finished second as the red hot favourite for the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot.

An intercontinental flavour is added by the presence in the line-up of Redkirk Warrior. A three-time Group 1 hero Down Under, he will be a first ride in Europe for 21-year-old Australian jockey Regan Bayliss.

Henry Candy, trainer of Limato, said:

“Limato is in very good form but Blue Point will take an awful lot of beating.”

“Limato has not been any different at home than he was this time last year, though that has not been reflected in his two starts this season. He ran much too free in the Queen Anne last time - that’s why we are dropping him back to sprinting.”

“He does seem to like Newmarket, though I can’t put my finger on why, and if he were to become to the first horse to reclaim the Darley July Cup title it would be very welcome.”

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