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The main focus this week is The Open Championship and hopefully we can find the winner in consecutive years following Henrik Stenson’s 30/1 success 12 months ago.
I’ve managed to fix it that the family are on summer holiday for a week whilst I’m home alone for Open Championship week (funny, that) and have openly made no secret of the fact that I’m keenest on Sergio Garcia of the big names, so it’s now a case of finding a couple of back-up selections and best bets in other markets. My preview will be uploaded on Wednesday following Ciaran Meagher’s much more in-depth preview.
With The Open taking precedence and it being relatively quiet on the racing front now until the King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (which is the next day I am covering in Race Previews), there will be no Ante-Post Focus this week. Then I will be previewing all five days being for Glorious Goodwood.
We had some successes in the lesser races but it wasn’t really my week at the Newmarket July Festival but the one thing I took going forward for subsequent years is to seriously consider blindly backing Godolphin in the 2yo maidens. For the second year running in the Race Previews I advised that we leave these particular races alone as there are more debutants than otherwise (sensible enough reasoning?) but also suggested that we keep an eye on the Godolphin contenders as this is a meeting where they like to introduce some of their better 2yos.
What happened next? They came within a short-head of winning of all four such contests last week (all trained by Charlie Appleby but I imagine their best 2yos will be shared out more equally between him and Saeed bin Suroor next year) and, this off the back of winning two of the 2yo maiden races at the 2016 Newmarket July Festival including a 1-2 and finishing runner-up in another. That means that they have supplied five winners and three runners-up in the last eight 2yo maiden races over that three-day festival. John Gosden won two of the other three. For good measure, Godolphin also won two of the three maiden races for 2yos in both 2012 and 2013 (including another 1-2) and also won a 2yo maiden at the 2011 and 2014 meetings.
It was a great meeting all round for Godolphin with Harry Angel winning the July Cup and a 1-2 in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes but, on the evidence of the above, we have to be seriously looking to back their 2yo maidens at the 2018 Newmarket July Festival irrespective of the fact that so many runners in those races will be having their debut.
Paul Smith will return on July 25th to cover the Third Test Match between England and South Africa but before then Mike Henderson returns on Friday to preview the World Matchplay Darts from Blackpool with his outright preview and then he will cover the eight-day event on a round-by-round basis so, although it’s a bit quiet on the racing front for a while, there is plenty of other sport to keep us occupied.