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Today is the start of the Newmarket July festival. I have two selections from that venue today, hopefully they can run some big races and bag us some winners.
Quite a few horses in this race bring in good pieces of form, but I think the Norfolk Stakes is probably the strongest piece of form from the 2yo sprint division so far. That race was won by Perfect Power, and though he hasn't raced since, many in behind have & have franked the form. Go Bears Go was arguably an unlucky loser in Norfolk as he was on the other side of the track, but he won his side. He has won a Group 2 at the Curragh, beating some highly respected horses from Ireland, including Castle Star and Dr Zempf, as well as Masseto who was placed at Royal Ascot. With this, I think that PROJECT DANTE, who finished third to Perfect Power, beaten narrowly (0.25 lengths), has a very good chance of winning this race.
Today, Project Dante steps up to 6f on a stiff track, which should suit based on his previous race where he was staying on strongly. He is by Showcasing, who was a high class 6f horse, and has produced many quality 6f sprinters, even Advertise, who was a previous winner of this race back in 2018. The Dam also won races over 6f, so the distance should be an inconvenience, if anything it should be a positive. His half-brother Lauded was a smart 2yo who raced over 6f last year for Tom Dascombe, he finished 3rd in the Richmond Stakes at Royal Ascot.
If for whatever reason they decide to split into groups, he should be able to follow Dig Two who has made the running a couple of times. If not, then it wouldn't surprise me to see Graham Lee take the initiative and run from the front.
He seems to handle any kind of ground which could potentially be raced on tomorrow, as he went close lto at Ascot on Good To Firm, and he won on Good To Soft on debut. I'm just hoping for a clear run through, as he didn't quite get that at Ascot.
If the same Al Aasy turns up from last time, then the rest of the field will have a hard time, so I'm going to be playing SIR RON PRIESTLEY in the w/o fav market, currently priced at 6/4 on Bet365.
I've been on the wrong end of some of Mark Johnston's horses in recent times, and I seem to back the ones who are out of form, but it's hard to poke holes in Sir Ron Priestley's form over the last couple of years. He under performed last time at Ascot, but you have to say that was due to the soft ground, and the track. He has only raced on slow ground twice, and both of them came at Ascot, where on both occasions he was poor. I think you can forgive him for that run, as his runs on a faster surface are hard to knock.
You'd like to think that he'll get an uncontested lead, like he did in the Betfair Exchange Jockey Club Stakes (Group 2) at Newmarket, at the start of May, where he made all and beat Pyledriver comfortably. Pyldriver was probably around 85% ready that day, as he was always being targeted at the Coronation Cup, but you can't take away from SRP who just kept galloping, and I'm hoping for a similar scenario today. I do expect Al Aasy to breeze up at the side, as it will be hard to fend him off, as he's such a strong traveller, hence the bet in the w/o market. As for the rest of the field I think Sir Ron has the beating of them. Despite giving the field 3lbs, you know what to expect, whereas you don't with the others. Bangkok seems to be better on the AW these days, and whether this trip is what he needs, I'm not so sure. Highest Ground, I don't rate him, and the form of beating Outbox doesn't seem that strong as it does on paper, despite the fact he beat a regressive Logician. Star Saffari has the best form of the remaining horses in the field, but he's not been seen since a good run in the Sheema Classic in Dubai, where most of his wins have come. Charlie Appleby is 0/6 at the Newmarket July festival with horses making their return from 100+ days.
The ground should hopefully be good or Good To Firm, and if that's the case then he should hopefully finish 2nd to Al Aasy who is destined for the Group 1 races.