Three-year-olds have more than held their own in the Darley July Cup down the years and the classic generation is well represented again this year.
As a Group 1 winner, Reckless Abandon (a general 9/1) has to be of interest and Richard Hughes is now being asked to see if he can keep the speedy colt straight as he again veered left when fifth behind Sole Power and Shea Shea in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. The latter pair are scheduled to re-oppose again with Mike De Kock‘s six-year-old expected to reverse running with Eddie Lynam‘s stable star over the extra furlong. He is 4/1 with most layers while Sole Power can be backed at 10/1 with nearly all bookmakers. Lynam could also run Slade Power, who runs in the same colours and won a Group 3 at the Curragh last month. He is 25/1 on betfair and did start slowly when finishing behind Lethal Force, Society Rock and Krypton Factor in the Golden Jubilee at Ascot. Lethal Force is 5/1 with Betfred and Stan James to string together back-to-back Group 1 triumphs at Newmarket and Society Rock can be backed at the same odds in several places, though he only finished third in the race last year when appearing favoured by ground conditions and isn’t exactly reliable. Krypton Factor is but whether the Bahrain raider is still capable of winning on Turf at the highest level is questionable and his general 16/1 odds reflect that.
At the same odds, I’m inclined to take a chance on the much-improved HAMZA as Kevin Ryan isn’t normally inclined to tilt at windmills. I’ll admit, the four-year-old has a bit to find on official ratings and he’s never taken on opponents of this quality before but he showed terrific speed to land a competitive-looking handicap on the Rowley Mile in the spring and again when scoring over 5f at Beverley subsequently. On both occasions, he kept galloping all the way to the line and the fact that he’s even taking his chance here suggests he is still on an upward curve. More straightforward than some, I can see him running a big race.
There are some form lines which suggest Soul ( a general 33/1) may be capable of surprising a few but a bigger danger is likely to be Gale Force Ten. A similar type to previous winners Oasis Dream and Dream Ahead, he ran well in both the French and Irish 2000 Guineas before winning the Jersey Stakes at Ascot over 7f. Always travelling well that day, the likely fast pace at Newmarket should aid his cause and he’s an attractive alternative at the general 7/1.