Strong Suit's stable takes £11,000 punt on July Cup and the weather


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The Independent Online

Even before her scare at Ascot, Black Caviar's trainer had taken one look at the undulations of the July Course and abandoned any notion of sticking around for the Darley July Cup. Moonlight Cloud, who so nearly ruined the Australian champion's perfect record, is also safely out of the way, back in France. There is a tempting Group One opportunity, then, at Newmarket on Saturday – and two new hats were duly thrown into the ring yesterday.

Having candidly accepted that it would be pointless to follow Frankel to Goodwood, connections of Strong Suit paid a £11,000 supplementary fee despite anxiety over possible deterioration in conditions later in the week. Strong Suit has not raced over six furlongs since his juvenile season, but it was a similar drop in trip that paid off for the other new entry, Dandy Man, when he shrugged off a big weight in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot.

A similar strategy had been mooted for Excelebration, Frankel's regular punchbag, who was duly prominent in the ante-post market. But he did not figure among the three Ballydoyle acceptors, who were instead headed by Power, who was so disappointing in the St James's Palace Stakes after winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

Bated Breath is a warm favourite with Ladbrokes, at 5-2, albeit he is another for whom soft ground would be a concern. Strong Suit and Society Rock are next at 8-1, then 10-1 against Power and Ortensia, the latter backed from 14-1 yesterday.

The other Group One race this weekend is the Grand Prix de Paris, at Longchamp on Sunday – nowadays the closest approximation to a French Derby and so the target for the runner-up in the Epsom original, Main Sequence. Imperial Monarch, who suffered such terrible luck in running on his last visit to France, will represent Aidan O'Brien.

David Lanigan, his young handler, was yesterday delighted to confirm that Main Sequence's owners intend to keep him in training next year. "He's strengthening all the time and next year is going to be his year," he said. "We'll train him with that in mind."

Camelot, who beat Main Sequence in such style at Epsom, is already a very short price to complete the Triple Crown in the Ladbrokes St Leger. But there has been good ante-post support for Michelangelo, whose trainer has won the last two runnings. John Gosden has given this colt an entry at Newmarket on Thursday, but indicated yesterday that he is more likely to wait for Goodwood.

Having pulled off a remarkable double on Saturday with Nathaniel and Great Heavens – the two siblings won big races at Sandown and Haydock within an hour of each other – Gosden is proposing to supplement the latter to the Darley Irish Oaks on 22 July.

There was a surreal reverse for those who had the misfortune of backing yesterday's nap at Ayr. Head Space, whose recent improvement has contributed to an excellent run for Ruth Carr's stable, was trading at 1-25 on Betfair as James Sullivan produced him with what seemed a decisive challenge in the closing stages.

A couple of strides before the line, however, Head Space abruptly slammed on the brakes and nearly propped Sullivan out of the saddle. He had jumped the mown strip on his last visit to the track, when clear, but this time his nervousness was more costly and he was beaten a head and a neck.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap: Gazboolou (5.15 Wolverhampton)

Has not been with Henry Candy long but is very well treated on his early form. Signs of renewal tried in a tongue-tie at Warwick last time, travelling well when hampered.

Next Best: Tunnager Grove (8.35 Southwell)

Caught the eye in qualifying for a rating in his third maiden at Warwick when second after meeting traffic. Yard's runners tend to take to surface.

Where The Money's Going: Golden Lilac is 2-1 from 11-4 with Paddy Power for Friday's Etihad Falmouth Stakes. John Gosden is 7-2 from 9-2 for the trainers' title.