Tattersalls July Stakes (Group 2) | 6f | 2yo colts and geldings | ITV4
While the July Stakes is sometimes regarded as the first test of the Royal Ascot juvenile form, the average RPR recorded by the winner is about 1lb lower than in the Coventry. Even though just three weeks tends to separate the races, these are ever-developing two-year-olds and that is significant.
That is no slight on this race, which has produced more than its share of subsequent top two-year-olds, and the winner is likely to go off favourite for the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood in a few weeks' time.
This year's Coventry will be remembered for winner Nando Parrado's starting price, but many observers pegged runner-up Qaader as the best short-to-medium-term prospect.
He would become the third Coventry runner-up in the last five years to go one better in this race if he were to win. His form certainly feels stronger than that of the Windsor Castle, which at least in numerical terms is represented by the same number as the Coventry in this year's July Stakes.
Tactical won the Windsor Castle in convincing style from Yazaman and is atypical for a winner of that race in that he is not a precocious two-year-old on breeding.
For all the talk of Royal Ascot tie-ins, it is not unusual for even July Stakes winners and favourites to come straight from novices. Visinari was odds-on last year on the basis of just his deeply impressive debut win.
It is worth mentioning that Aidan O'Brien, who often sends at least one of his better two-year-olds to the July Stakes, has not declared Admiral Nelson and lets Swiss Ace fly solo. His debut wins lacks substance, but it certainly had style and he is bred to be speedy, far more so than most of O'Brien's early two-year-olds.
Race analysis by Keith Melrose, betting editor
What they say
David Loughnane, trainer of Choritzo
He was very good first time out and won nicely. He didn't get any sort of run at Ascot and was squeezed out the race quite early meaning that was his race over, despite being one of the only horses making ground in the last couple of furlongs. He was staying on stoutly and didn't have a hard race that day. He's done everything right at home since and I feel he warrants a crack in this sort of company and we'll see where we are with him.
Brian Meehan, trainer of Jimmy Sparks
He's a lovely colt who has done nothing but please us in his runs and work at home. I think he should go well and has a solid each-way chance.
Tom Dascombe, trainer of Lauded
I thought he ran a great race in the Coventry. He looked like he was going to go on and do something from two out but he just didn’t quite get home in the tacky ground there, so I’m hoping the ground is going to be better for him at Newmarket, which it’s looking like it might be.
Angus Gold, racing manager to Sheikh Hamdan – owner of Qaader
He ran very well at Ascot and like everyone else we were forced to run him again more quickly than we would normally have done. I thought he acquitted himself very well and Mark Johnston says he's come out of it in good shape so this seemed the obvious route to go down.
Karl Burke, trainer of Rebel At Dawn
It’s a big step up in class but we think he’s a nice colt otherwise we wouldn’t be going down there, and we’ll find out how good he is. We’re looking forward to running him and he’s in good form.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Swiss Ace
He was very good first time out and won nicely. That was over five at Tipperary. We’re stepping him up in trip and the better the ground is the better chance he has. He’s a nice colt.
John Warren, racing manager to the Queen – owner of Tactical
Tactical is a very laid back horse. We are hopeful for a good performance and it will interesting to see how the form works out.
James Tate, trainer of Victory Heights
I thought he ran a decent race at Ascot behind a couple of today's rivals. He was positioned to struggle to beat them so I'd like to think with a fairer run and an extra furlong he could have an each-way chance.
William Haggas, trainer of Yazaman
He ran a great race to be second from a bad draw in the Windsor Castle and takes on the winner Tactical again. It will be interesting to see just how unlucky he was but he's in good shape.