Whistlejacket Seeks Newmarket Redemption as July Festival Gets Underway

Whistlejacket | Racingfotos.com


Having suffered one of Royal Ascot's most unexpected reversals, Ballydoyle's Whistlejacket (Ire) (No Nay Never) heads to Newmarket's July Festival on Thursday with a point to prove in the G2 Kingdom of Bahrain July Stakes. Caught out by the speed test of the G2 Norfolk Stakes, the Listed First Flier Stakes winner could manage only fourth as the heavily-supported 10-11 favourite and duly reverts to a more suitable six-furlong trip to put his substantial reputation back on track. His brother Little Big Bear (Ire) came here two years ago only to be pulled out due to the prevailing fast ground, but it is more on the soft side of good this time which posed no problem as the Peter Brant colour-bearer readily dispatched the solid yardstick Arizona Blaze (GB) (Sergei Prokofiev) in his Curragh listed win.

Also coming back from Royal Ascot are the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes winner Ain't Nobody (Ire) (Sands Of Mali {Fr}) from the Kevin Ryan stable and Wathnan Racing's G2 Coventry Stakes runner-up Electrolyte (Ire) (Hello Youmzain {Fr}) representing Archie Watson, while Charlie Appleby supplies Godolphin's Nottingham debut winner Aomori City (Fr) (Oasis Dream {GB}).

“This race cut up a bit at the overnight stage, losing the Coventry first and third, but that formline is still represented by the runner-up Electrolyte and it still looks a strong race,” Whistlejacket's jockey Ryan Moore said. “I suppose you could say we were a little disappointed that Whistlejacket didn't win the Norfolk, but maybe things didn't fully work to his advantage there and it certainly wasn't a bad run at all. We like to think he is better than he showed there, he handles soft ground well if required, and the return to six furlongs hopefully won't be an issue. It's a good race, but he is a good colt.”


Upper Hand for Hamish

Newmarket's feature on day one is the G2 Princess of Wales's Stakes, where Scuderia la Tesa and Vaibhav Shah's impressive G2 Yorkshire Cup winner Giavellotto (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) encounters the Haggas stalwart Hamish (GB) (Motivator {GB}). Giavellotto, who was recording back-to-back wins in that York contest in May, has a three-pound penalty to burden him which benefits the eight-time Group 3 winner Hamish. Runner-up in the G1 Coronation Cup with the run of the race against him, Brian Haggas's homebred veteran deserves a Group 2 to his name and Tuesday's deluge has come in the nick of time.

“Tom [Marquand] said he has never been round Tattenham Corner quite as fast as he did in the Coronation Cup and the horse plugged on very well, we were thrilled to bits,” William Haggas said. “It's the same old team we've been running against in the past.”

Marco Botti is looking at the Marco Botti views the Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday as the perfect stepping stone towards the G1 Irish St Leger for Giavellotto after this outing. “We don't want it too soft, but at the moment the plan is to let him take his chance, especially as he is coming back to a mile and a half,” he explained. “He's won on the July course before and it is quite a stiff mile and a half, which is why we felt we could drop back in trip there. We want to just campaign him at around a mile and six this year, last year we took him to Goodwood and York over two miles, but we do feel it just stretches him and his optimum is a mile and three-quarters, which is the Irish St Leger.”


Prevailing Wisdom

Also on Thursday's fixture is the G3 Bahrain Trophy, playing host to St Leger hopefuls headed by Godolphin's G1 Futurity Trophy-winning TDN Rising Star Ancient Wisdom (Fr) (Dubawi {Ire}). He is certain to be a warm order dropping back in class and going up in trip following his eighth in the Derby, while Wathnan Racing's Space Legend (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) will provide further measurement of the merit of Calandagan (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) who beat him by six lengths in Royal Ascot's G2 King Edward VII Stakes last month.

Wathnan Racing's racing adviser Richard Brown said of Space Legend, “The slight step up in trip won't harm him and I think this horse is going to stay. He ran a tremendous race at Ascot and just bumped into one, Calandagan looked a bit of a freak that day. He has come out of Ascot well and we were pondering whether to wait for Goodwood, but William has said he is fit, well and healthy and I think he is still a big baby who will get better with racing, so he is going to go and take his chance.”


Promising Lead

In the increasingly-important Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes, Juddmonte's impressive York novice scorer Lead Artist (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) bids to emulate the operation's 2023 winner Nostrum (GB) (Kingman {GB}) in the race that was used for a certain Baaeed (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) three years ago. Currently favoured over five rivals including Tim Porter's listed-winning and dual Group 3-placed Kitty Rose (GB) (Invincible Army {Ire}), the John and Thady Gosden-trained son of the G2 Prix de Sandringham winner and G1 Prix Rothschild third Obligate (GB) (Frankel {GB}) will have connections aiming high if he passes this test.

Juddmonte's European racing manager Barry Mahon said of Lead Artist, “We obviously bypassed Royal Ascot, which was hopefully the wise thing to do, and he'll go there in good shape and he's one that we're looking forward to. It's been a high-class race in the last couple of years to be fair and it's a nice stepping-stone into those nice races in the second half of the season–races like the Sussex and the Marois. We're hoping that he can jump into that sort of level.”


Porta Fortuna Heads Falmouth Seven, Ryan Moore Booked

Ryan Moore has been booked for the ride on the G1 Coronation Stakes and G1 Cheveley Park Stakes heroine Porta Fortuna (Ire) (Caravaggio) in Friday's G1 Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, for which seven fillies and mares were confirmed on Wednesday morning. With no Ballydoyle representative in the line-up, Moore is free to link up with the Donnacha O'Brien-trained filly, racing for the Medallion-Weston-Fowler-Reeves partnership, with Oisin Murphy who steered her to success in the Cheveley Park back on David Howden's G2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes winner Running Lion (GB) (Roaring Lion) for the Gosdens.

Ireland is well-represented in the mile feature, with the Mutual Admiration Society Partnership's Irish 1,000 Guineas runner-up A Lilac Rolla (Ire) (Harry Angel {Ire}) hailing from the Paddy Twomey stable and Scott Heider's G1 Matron Stakes runner-up Rogue Millennium (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) flying the Joseph O'Brien stable flag. Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum's dual listed winner Jabaara (Ire) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) from the Roger Varian yard, Amo Racing's Adrian Murray-trained Magical Sunset (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) and Dash Grange Stud's David Menuisier-trained Sirona (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}) complete the field.

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