William Buick does not see stepping back up to six furlongs with Blue Point being an issue in Saturday’s Darley July Cup.
The Charlie Appleby-trained four-year-old was an impressive winner of the King’s Stand Stakes over the minimum trip at Royal Ascot, but his rider feels the extra furlong might even be in his favour.
“He seems in good order. He is back up to six now, which he has already won over, so that is not going to be an issue. The fast ground will suit him,” said Buick.
“Although it is a typical July Cup in that is very competitive and there are some top class-sprinters in there, we are very happy with him.”
He added: “He was very effective over five last time and beat some really good five-furlong specialists in the King’s Stand, but I think the best part of the race was his last furlong so that would mean six is up his street. There are no concerns over the trip.
“He is a horse who has always deserved to win a Group One, as he has been knocking at the door, so it was nice to get one with him. I’m happy with the draw in stall 10.”
Also in the Godolphin blue is John Gosden’s lightly-raced Dreamfield, who is stepping up in class after being narrowly beaten when a remarkably short price in the Wokingham Handicap at the Royal meeting.
“Dreamfield is in good order, but it is a big jump from a Wokingham, where he got caught late, to a July Cup,” said Gosden.
“He is in good form, it is here at home (Newmarket) and the track in in good condition so we are going for it.”
Gosden went on: “He did everything fine in his gallop here and I’ve been very pleased with the horse, but this is a whole different level and I’m very aware of that.
“He ended up coming across in the Wokingham, but I did warn everyone he was a silly price for that race and that proved to be correct.
“He is a horse that has had very little racing. If we don’t belong at this level we can drop him back to Group Three level.”
Eqtidaar surprised a few people when winning the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, but not connections of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt, who have always had faith in the horse.
However, they feel he has to find more improvement now he is taking on older and more experienced sprinters.
“He’s got to go up another notch now,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.
“We’re still learning about the horse. It will be interesting to see how he gets on against the best of them.
“Everybody else was surprised by him at Ascot. We weren’t particularly surprised, in that his work has always been very good at home.
“Sir Michael was happy with his work leading up to Ascot. We weren’t saying he was going to win well, but it was great to see him come good and now we have to step up another gear.
“Jim (Crowley) was very adamant the horse would improve with his racing. He’s pretty lightly-raced and still learning the job. He seems to have a good attitude.
“We don’t know about the ground – he does bend his knee a little bit. I think he’ll handle it. They’ve done a fantastic job watering.”
Australian sprinter Redkirk Warrior cut no ice at Ascot in the Diamond Jubilee, but hopes are that being reunited with regular partner Regan Bayliss can spark him back to life.
Ben Hayes, who trains Redkirk Warrior along with his father, David, and Tom Babernig, said: “We were very disappointed at Ascot and we thought on the day he might have had something wrong with him as he ran like he bled.
“But we checked him when we got home and the next morning he was absolutely fine and there were no real excuses for the poor run.
“There was a bit of a commotion with Harry Angel at the start. Our horse missed the start and Frankie (Dettori) had nothing with him. He never got chance to settle.
“If he runs anywhere near his best he’ll be in the finish for sure.”
Kevin Ryan’s Brando is a standing dish in these races and missed Ascot to wait for Newmarket.
“I have been training Brando especially for the July Cup and he is in great form,” said Ryan.
“I don’t know what it is about Newmarket but he seems to love the place, he must like running downhill. He is a big, heavy-topped horse, yet is very well balanced and seems to relish running down into the dip – he wasn’t beaten very far in this race last year.
“It was a difficult decision to skip Royal Ascot, but I wanted him to run in they July Cup and then defend his Prix Maurice de Gheest title and I didn’t think it would be fair on him to go to Ascot as well. You can’t run in all these championship races.”
Henry Candy’s Limato was a brilliant winner of the 2016 July Cup and filled the runner-up spot behind Harry Angel in last year’s renewal.
The six-year-old reverts to sprinting after finishing well beaten over a mile in both the Lockinge at Newbury and the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.
Candy said: “Limato is in very good form but Blue Point will take an awful lot of beating.”
“Limato has not been any different at home than he was this time last year, though that has not been reflected in his two starts this season.
“He ran much too free in the Queen Anne last time – that’s why we are dropping him back to sprinting.
“He does seem to like Newmarket, though I can’t put my finger on why, and if he were to become to the first horse to reclaim the July Cup title it would be very welcome.”