Racing UK

July Cup preview: Caravaggio all set for thunderous generation game

Friday 14 July 2017

Caravaggio puts his unbeaten record and huge reputation on the line in what promises to be a vintage renewal of the Darley July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday.

After blowing away the opposition in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, the three-year-old son of Scat Daddy, who is one of two runners for Aidan O'Brien alongside Intelligence Cross, will bid to make it seven wins from as many starts in the six-furlong Group One as he clashes with older horses for the first time.

The Irish trainer seeks his third victory in the six-furlong sprint after Mozart and Stravinsky. 

O'Brien said: "He seems to be fine. He hasn't done a lot since Ascot but seems to be in good form. We've been happy with him since."

While stopping short of saying Harry Angel can reverse the form with Caravaggio having finished second behind him at Ascot, Clive Cox believes there is still more to come from his dual Group Two scorer.

The trainer said: "I am delighted with him and he is in great nick. The ground should be ideal and we are very much looking forward to it.

"It was a tough race at Ascot, but I think we came out of that with the impression it was better than any race he had run in before.

"He is fresh and well and I have been relaxed about turning him out here since his run in the Commonwealth Cup.

"I think with there only being 10 runners, I am relaxed about the draw. Hopefully it will be a fair and proper race that we can all show our best performances in.

"Adam Kirby knows the horse well and I will leave tactics to him as to what feels right on the day. He knows the horse well enough and I trust him implicitly.

"I am very pleased with his preparation and well-being since Ascot. I have got total respect for all the opposition. I still think very highly of our fellow and hopefully there is still more to come."

James Fanshawe does not expect the nature of the track to be a problem for The Tin Man as he bids to claim a third top-level success and supplement his victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

Fanshawe said: "It was great to have a Royal Ascot winner. The Classics and Royal Ascot are the races we all want to go for and to win a Group One, and be presented the Diamond Jubilee trophy by the Queen, was a very special honour.

"It was a smart performance from Caravaggio, but so was The Tin Man's, they both quickened up very well. I'm looking forward to running him and I will concentrate on him and getting him there in the best possible form.

"It's by accident he's never run at Newmarket before, it's just the way things have turned out. He handles the Limekilns gallop here in Newmarket and that has a dip in it, so hopefully the track won't be a problem."

Although Henry Candy is under no illusion that Limato, who will be reunited with jockey Harry Bentley, faces a much stiffer test than when winning the race 12 months ago, he feels the five-year-old gelding is back on good terms with himself.

Candy said: "I'm very happy with him and he seems in very good form. The ground is drying out and that should suit him. The opposition is incredible and without doubt it is a stronger race than last year.

"I was very happy with the run at Ascot. Things didn't quite go his way, but that should have brought him on a bit more. I thought his attitude was right and he seems to be a happy horse again. He seems to be back to himself.

"I am delighted Harry Bentley is back on him. He is quite a straightforward ride, but it is nice to have the guy who won on him last year back. He has not sat on him since being given the ride back, but he knows him best having ridden him six times before."

Connections of the William Haggas-trained Tasleet, who split The Tin Man and Limato at Ascot, will be monitoring conditions closely ahead of the race.

Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: "He has done everything right this year. We were very impressed with him at York.

"It went soft there and it sort of opened up a new avenue for him. I thought he did everything right at Ascot. I half felt sorry for the horse as he had the horse inside him in his sights (Limato) and The Tin Man slipped around the other side and he probably never saw him.

"He is a horse we like and he is very consistent. He is not a big horse. William was only worried if it got really firm and with the contours whether it would be the right thing (to run him).

"We will keep an eye on the weather and the conditions. The horse has done nothing wrong and is right up against the best of the best here."

Richard Fahey celebrated his first British Group One winner in the race when Mayson lifted the prize in 2012 and will be double-handed with Growl, who unseated in the stalls last time, and Mr Lupton in his bid to win it again.

He said: "Both Growl and Mr Lupton will need to step right up to the mark if they are to make much impact in the July Cup, as it looks like it could be a vintage renewal of the race.

"I'm not worried about a repeat of the stalls problem for Growl, though he will use a rug in the stalls to keep him calm, just as he used to before he came to me.

"I would prefer slower ground for Growl as they are sure to go incredibly quick. Both my runners have small chances."

The field is completed by the Kevin Ryan-trained Brando and Intisaab from the yard of David O'Meara.

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