The Darley July Cup brings together three of the first four home in the Diamond Jubilee, the Commonwealth Cup winner, and a St James’s Palace also-ran dropping back in trip. But it is a gelding which skipped Ascot, Oxted, that can hold sway on Saturday.
This is a race that Frankie Dettori, on Sceptical, has yet to win and it is also one of the few which eluded Kieren Fallon. But on Oxted, who improved through the ranks last year to win the Portland and kicked off this season winning the Abernant, his son Cieren can put the family record straight as well as winning his first Group One winner.
Roger Teal has his Lambourn string in flying form having won with Gussy Mac at Sandown on Sunday and Bear Force One at Newmarket on Thursday.
“I’m very happy with him,” said Teal. “He wasn’t fully wound up so has come on for the Abernant. It was very firm at Newmarket and he was a bit stiff afterwards so we decided to miss Ascot and get him right.”
He added: “The only worry would be the ground. Even though he is bred for it on both his dam and sire’s side his lesser efforts were when the ground was easy. But he’s a year older and stronger.”
There is not much between Hello Youmzain, Sceptical, and Khaadem on their Diamond Jubilee form, although the extra experience gained from that race might help Sceptical reverse the form. Otherwise it will be a case of who gets the best run and that also goes for Commonwealth Cup winner Golden Horde, the principal three-year-old in this year’s race.
On Friday, Dandalla, the Albany winner at Royal Ascot, added the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes to her collection and she could now head to the Morny in France for a clash with the Queen’s Tactical, while Nazeef took her winning sequence to six in winning the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes narrowly from Billesdon Brook.