The Group 1 July Cup over 6f is the culmination of the Festival at Newmarket on Saturday (16:40), and Advertise has leading claims of victory under Frankie Dettori.
Trained by Martyn Meade, the three-year-old son of Showcasing is a course and distance winner who returned to form last time out.
After readily landing a Newbury maiden, Advertise chased home Calyx in last year’s Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He resumed winning ways at this meeting 12 months ago when a comfortable two-length victor over Konchek in the Group 2 July Stakes.
Advertise then scored at the highest level, finding plenty for pressure in the Phoenix Stakes.
That Group 1 success by half-a-length from So Perfect marked him down as a serious Classic contender.
He was far from disgraced on the final start of his juvenile campaign over 7f on the Rowley Mile here when runner-up to Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst.
Something was clearly amiss with Advertise on reappearance in the 2000 Guineas. He didn’t get the trip and weakened before the final furlong.
Connections dropped Advertise down in distance and he bounced back when landing the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup.
He led inside the final furlong and stayed on strongly to score by 1 1/2 lengths under an ultra confident Dettori at Royal Ascot.
Based on that evidence, Advertise has nothing to fear from the re-opposing Ten Sovereigns who was fourth home.
Three-year-olds get 6lb weight-for-age from their elders here. Taking that into account, Advertise comes out clear on adjusted ratings and is thus well worth backing at 3/1 with Boylesports for the July Cup.
Dream Of Dreams feared most
There are obviously a host of dangers in this valuable and prestigious sprint contest. Of the older horses, Dreams Of Dreams ran a monster race in defeat when last in action.
Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, this five-year-old pushed now retired sprint king Blue Point all the way in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes and went down all guns blazing by a head.
Dream Of Dreams just failed to reach the Godolphin owned Royal Ascot sprint double hero. It was a career-best by some way and Stoute is the best in the business at getting horses to improve with age.
Prior to Ascot, Dream Of Dreams won both his previous starts this season. He landed a conditions contest on the all-weather at Chelmsford and followed-up in Listed company at Windsor.
As he’s in the form of his life, Dream Of Dreams must be respected at 4/1 with Ladbrokes. However, he faces no easy task giving weight to Advertise and is zero from three at Newmarket, so is therefore taken on.
Fellow Royal Ascot eye-catcher Cape Byron is out to prove himself better than a handicapper, meanwhile, after back-to-back victories in Berkshire.
Trainer Roger Varian is having a fine season and the five-year-old son of Shamardal dropped back in trip under a welter burden to land the ultra-competitive Wokingham Stakes.
Cape Byron now races off 10lb higher than the mark he won the Victoria Cup off on reappearance.
A mark of 113 still leaves him with something to find on the market principals, but the way he ran on at Ascot suggests Cape Byron is a pattern performer in the making.
This demands more but the gelding is another in the form of his life going into the July Cup. Cape Byron is 5/1 with Unibet.
Big ask for July Cup veteran duo Brando and Limato
Brando and Limato are old hands at Newmarket, and their records at headquarters mean despite being seven-year-olds they cannot be entirely ruled out.
The former finished third and then second in the last two renewals of the July Cup. Brando went down by 1 3/4 lengths in both and comes into his third crack at the race of the back of a win.
That came in a Listed event at Hamilton where the Kevin Ryan trained son of Pivotal notched a ninth career success. Brando kept on strongly for a 1 3/4 lengths over Donjuan Triumphant and is now rated the same as last year.
With Newmarket form figures of 113123, odds of 9/1 with Betway give him claims of making the frame again. Brando isn’t getting any younger though, and nor is Henry Candy stable star Limato.
This Tagula gelding won the July Cup three years ago, then finished runner-up in 2017 – in front of Brando. Limato weakened out of the race 12 months ago, but has since showed he retains plenty of ability.
He has won all three subsequent races at Newmarket including when retaining his Group 2 Challenge Stakes crown in October.
Limato ran well under a penalty on reappearance in a similar grade affair at York when fourth and then toughed it out over 7f here to land the Group 3 Criterion Stakes by a neck.
As the drop back holds no fears, Limato is 14/1 with Ladbrokes to follow-up but this demands more against younger rivals open to more progress. The elder statesmen could well struggle and may finally be run out of contention.
Fairyland each-way value and pick of O’Brien trio
Aidan O’Brien has won the July Cup four times including last season with U S Navy Flag. The Ballydoyle maestro saddles three in search of the spoils this year, and clear preference of those is for Fairyland.
This three-year-old daughter of Kodiac is a Rowley Mile course winner over the trip, confirming previous form from the Ebor Festival.
Fairyland just got the better of The Mackem Bullet again here when scoring by a neck in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes.
She has since shaped as though a mile was beyond her when fifth and sixth to Hermosa in the English and Irish 1000 Guineas.
Her Coolmore connections dropped Fairyland back down on the minimum distance for the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot last time out, and she was far from disgraced when beaten three lengths by Blue Point.
The extra furlong here and this venue clearly suit her. A 112 rating puts Fairyland in with every chance of hitting the frame, given she also gets a 3lb sex allowance and weight-for-age.
She is preferred to Ten Sovereigns – another juvenile Group 1 winner here at the trip – because the No Nay Never colt has shaped as though 7f may be optimum.
Fairyland is also taken over So Perfect at 12/1 with William Hill each-way as she held that stable companion here in the Cheveley Park.