Sir John Hawkins can turn up heat at July Festival

 

For anyone who has wondered quite how the British Turf continues to seduce investment from the Gulf, perhaps a day at the July Festival at Newmarket might prove every bit as instructive as one spent among the pomp and pageantry of Ascot or Epsom. At a time of year when their homelands seem most arid, the sheikhs find themselves driven through avenues of trees between green paddocks to a racecourse full of shade and flowers. And if the quality of the sport is mixed, with plenty of maidens and handicaps as ballast to the elite contests, then there will be a corresponding air of relaxation over the next three afternoons – not least granted the benign weather forecast.

The opening race is typical of the fare, a lack of proven stars redressed by the possibility that one could be about to emerge. Who knows? Perhaps Dare To Achieve (1.40) could even announce himself as a possible Ladbrokes St Leger colt as he steps up from a Pontefract maiden to Group Three company. After all, this son of Galileo has always been well regarded by his shrewd trainer, William Haggas. And while it did take him three attempts to get off the mark, he looked very promising in his sole start at two and then bumped into a subsequent Royal Ascot winner, Remote, when second over just 10 furlongs on his reappearance at Newbury. He duly outclassed some inferior rivals when stepped up in trip at Pontefract and, with that solid grounding, looks ready to improve past a handful who strictly achieved more when filling minor roles in the Queen's Vase at Ascot.

A similar contrast presents itself in the Portland Place Properties July Stakes, between a colt whose third in the Coventry Stakes at Ascot sets the form standard, and a number who have shown abundant promise in maidens. The Richard Hannon pair both look tempting, on account of the sheer depth of his juvenile resources, but Sir John Hawkins (2.10) was exposed to a molten gallop in the Coventry – one that enabled his stablemate, War Command, to open right up in the final stages – and has the pedigree to keep improving. (He is by Henrythenavigator out of that remarkable mare Peeping Fawn.)

The Princess Of Wales's Boylesports Stakes often brings together horses that have either lost their way or been found out in the top grade, and again raises plenty of questions. Universal (2.40) proved very game when stepped up in grade back in the spring, and has since run extremely well in the Hardwicke Stakes. It would be unwise to grant him a soft lead on a track that suits front-runners.

The handicap that concludes Channel 4's coverage is always one of the most competitive of the summer, and again brings together several improvers. Greeleys Love (3.15) hardly qualifies as an obvious one, but he will be a corresponding price and has more than once given the impression he has more ability than this rating. Having met traffic when raised in trip at Ascot, he is worth one last chance at very big odds.

Only four runners have been declared for the first of the meeting's two Group One races, the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes tomorrow – but they do include Sky Lantern, brilliant winner of the Coronation Stakes, and last year's one-two, Giofra and Elusive Kate. The other runner, Purr Along, will be the clear outsider but has the distinction of becoming Frankie Dettori's first mount in the silks of Sheikh Joaan since signing the retainer that he hopes will unlock the door back to the big time.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Baldemar (8.55 Epsom) Loves this idiosyncratic track, a winner here three times already, and looked unlucky not to exploit a handy mark when second at Thirsk last time.

Next best

Chunky Diamond (4.50 Doncaster) Having tumbled down the handicap, bounced back to form at Haydock last week and is plainly ahead of the game without a penalty.

One to watch

Velox (Luca Cumani) is progressing quickly, held up in his run before closing well for second on his handicap debut at Haydock the other day.

Where the money's going

The Kevin Ryan-trained Hamza, winner of his last two starts, is 12-1 from 20-1 with Ladbrokes for the Darley July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday.

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game