Darryll Holland has plumped for Just James from three possible mounts in the July Cup in his attempt to register back-to-back victories in the Group One sprint at Newmarket on Thursday.
The in-form jockey has rejected the ride on his winner last year, Continent, as well as on Striking Ambition as he attempts to be the first jockey since Walter Swinburn on Green Desert (1986) and Ajdal (1987) to record consecutive wins. Continent, trained by David Nicholls, is trying to become the first dual winner since Right Boy in 1958 and 1959.
Holland, fresh from his victory on Falbrav in the Eclipse Stakes on Saturday, said: "It was a very hard decision as I love Striking Ambition, who has been expertly trained by Giles Bravery. However, in the end my choice was decided purely by the ground. To win a Group One you need everything in your favour, and Continent and Striking Ambition both really want good to soft ground.
"Just James is in good form - he wasn't beaten far behind Choisir at Ascot last time - and likes fast ground."
Just James, trained by Jeremy Noseda, was beaten three lengths into fifth place by the Australian speedster in the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes, despite being short of room when trying to make his challenge. And he was far from disgraced when runner-up to Trade Fair in the Criterion Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket on his latest start.
On hearing of Holland's decision, Bravery has booked Gary Carter for Striking Ambition. The Newmarket trainer is hoping for rain to improve the chances of his progressive three-year-old, who missed the Golden Jubilee Stakes because of fast ground.
"The ground is everything. We'll declare him and we have every intention of running on the ground as it is now," Bravery said. "He's an exceptional horse and if it rains, that would very much be in our favour."
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