It has not been easy for racing to get much of a look-in during what has become a golden summer of sport. World Cup fever ruled during Royal Ascot and there was only a brief window for last Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse before England versus Sweden.
The football takes a break until the weekend but Thursday sees England taking on India in the first one-day international at Trent Bridge and Serena Williams in another Wimbledon semi-final, not to mention a certain US President touching down in the afternoon for his first official visit.
Nonetheless, there would be nowhere nicer to be than in the tranquil surroundings of Newmarket for day one of The Moët & Chandon July Festival, or simply the July Meeting for us die-hards.
Standing under the trees in the pre-parade ring or close to the quaint thatched buildings around the paddock is an evocative, peaceful experience a world away from the nerves of a penalty shoot-out or the gradual crumbling of the wider political landscape.
The racing is almost a distraction, albeit a very welcome one with the first serious testing of Royal Ascot form and some compulsive-looking handicaps.
One of those seeking to build on the promise he showed at the Royal meeting is Konchek, who looks the value selection in the Group Two Arqana July Stakes.
This is the first time Clive Cox has decided to step his Lethal Force juvenile up to six furlongs, and it looks as if the extra distance will be most welcome. He was unlucky when eating up the ground from a difficult start in the National Stakes at Sandown and appeared to be taken off his feet before maintaining a fifth-placed position in the Norfolk.
This is n0t an easy assignment but the debut performance of hugely expensive breeze-up purchase Legends Of War at Yarmouth does not seem to amount to an awful lot and whilst Coventry runner-up Advertise is very much respected, he is short enough given he looked to have a hard race for an inexperienced horse.
A rapid hat-trick seeker under a penalty representing more fashionable connections would be a fair bit shorter in the betting for the bet365 Handicap than Kimifive.
This improving sprinter represents the underrated Joe Tuite and has built up a fine rapport with the busy apprentice Nicola Currie, winning on quick ground at Windsor on two consecutive Mondays.
Neither event looked bad, he will love the lightning fast conditions for a bang in-form stable and looks the best priced of a few which are potentially still improving.
Sir Michael Stoute was the main man of Royal Ascot and he looks to have a strong chance of making it 10 wins in the Princess Of Wales's Arqana Racing Club Stakes with yet another of his improving older horses.
The useful three-year-old has looked better again this term and met trouble in-running when still finishing a commendable fifth in the Wolferton at Ascot.
He had appeared more suited by this mile and a half when bolting up in a Listed event at Goodwood earlier on. Fiorente, Sir Michael’s most recent scorer in this race six years ago, went on to take a Melbourne Cup and it would not be impossible to envisage this fellow heading to Australia, too.
We might side against Martyn Meade and Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ Advertise but the same connections can gain reward in the Edmondson Hall Solicitors Sir Henry Cecil Stakes.
Walk In The Sun, who was found to have tested positive for cocaine after winning at Lingfield in February, is one of those to have made their way to Meade’s Manton base after the owners’ apparent falling out with Jeremy Noseda.
He appeared for the first time in four months in the Jersey Stakes won so stylishly by Expert Eye and really caught the eye himself as he came through in the latter stages for sixth. The colt gives the impression he is much better than that performance and this Listed event, made up mostly by horses who have become a little disappointing, looks the perfect opportunity for him to be in the news for the right reasons.
Tom Peacock's How to bet £20 at Newmarket on Thursday:
2.45 Newmarket: £4 win Konchek at 12-1
3.00 Newmarket: £2.50 each-way Kimifive at 25-1
3.35 Newmarket: £7 win Mirage Dancer at 5-2
4.45 Newmarket: £4 win Walk In The Sun at 6-1 with William Hill
£1 each-way patent on Konchek, Kimifive and Walk In The Sun £6 win on Mirage Dancer