Skip to content

Day 1 Newmarket July Festival 2024 Preview: Billboard Star Can Take Centre Stage

The next three days will see the horse racing world focus on the July Festival at Newmarket. The festival itself has a mixture of Group 1s, top juvenile races, and competitive handicaps. On Day 1, I’m looking forward to the opening race, as I think we could see a proper St. Leger candidate.
Josephine_Pontefract

1.50 Newmarket – Space Legend (Win)

Though we’ve only got four runners, it’s certainly an interesting little race. I can’t have Ancient Wisdom after his lacklustre performance at York. He might prefer the softer ground, and Charlie Appleby does have a good record in this race, but I can’t trust him at the prices.

Space Legend, on the other hand, looks like a horse going places. He ran very well to finish second in the King Edward VI Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. On ratings, he does have a bit to find with Ancient Wisdom, but I think he has the improvement in him.

The ground at Newmarket is currently described as soft, but with the weather forecast looking dry, I’d expect the ground to quicken up a bit. However, if it rides slowly, that won’t be a problem for Space Legend, as he’s won it before. I do think he’s the one to beat.

2.25 Newmarket – Billboard Star (Win)

I’m keen to side against horses who ran at Royal Ascot here. I just don’t think the form stacks up well, and two of the last three winners of this race didn’t even run at the Royal meeting. 

Therefore, the outsider of the field, Billboard Star, is jumping out at me at 20/1. He won with plenty in hand when scoring over this course and distance making all from the front. Charlie Bishop eased down on him in the closing stages, and he looked like he could have gone another furlong. Furthermore, his trainer, Eve Johnson-Houghton, knows the family well, as she trained his brother Chipotle, who was a very good juvenile, so he’s bred to be sharp. Horses with his profile have a good record in this race, so I am keen to side with him.

3.00 Newmarket – Thunder Blue (Each Way)

I thought this was a tricky puzzle to solve, but I am just coming down on the side of Thunder Blue for Jamie Osborne. I thought he shaped with encouragement when he finished ninth at Royal Ascot on his stable debut for new connections. That run was over 5f, and the step back up in distance to 6f should suit, as most of his best form has come over further.

The son of Blue Point ran well here last year in the Group 2 July Stakes to finish fourth, and he looks to be on a good mark of 88. I can see him stepping forward and being in the mix.

3.35 Newmarket – Arrest (Win)

I think this could be the time for Arrest to get back into the winners’ enclosure. He’s a horse who needs soft ground, and it looks like he will get his conditions here. So far this season, he has recorded some promising efforts, which included a second-place finish at Chester in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes. Also, I think the long straight on the July course will really suit him, as he’s a proper galloper.

Hamish is the one to beat on form, but I think he had a hard race at Epsom, and he looks a bit too short at 6/5.

4.10 Newmarket – Miss Fascinator (Win)

I thought Miss Fascinator ran well on her racecourse debut to finish second at this venue last month. She appeared to be learning on the job and came home with a wet sail. The race itself looked like it had a bit of depth to it, and I think it could work out well over the coming weeks and months.I would expect the daughter of Mehmas to step forward for that run, and I think she is the one to beat for Roger Varian.

4.45 Newmarket – Lead Artist (Win)

I put up Lead Artist when he won at York back in May. He was very impressive that day, and the further he went, the better he looked. That form hasn’t been tested, so it’s hard to judge it, but I think the three-year-old colt could develop into a Group 1 horse. His opposition may have the better form, but I think they may have peaked, and I’m keen to side with the son of Dubawi.

5.20 Newmarket – Sterling Knight (Each Way)

This is a horrible race, as most of these horses arrive here with question marks against their names. Therefore, I think Sterling Knight could be worth a play. He’s been a good horse for Ed Dunlop over 6f and 7f, but this will be the first time he’s tried a mile. Looking at his breeding, it’s definitely worth a go. He’s by Camelot, and his dam has produced horses who got further. If you go back two starts, he won at Newbury over 7f, staying on strongly. It might just be that he doesn’t have the speed for sprint trips any more, and this new distance could be the making of him.

Bet Of The Day: 1.50 Newmarket – Space Legend

Read also...
The next three days will see the horse racing world focus on the July Festival at Newmarket. The festival itself has a mixture of Group 1s, top juvenile races, and competitive handicaps. On Day 1, I’m looking forward to the opening race, as I think we could see a proper St. Leger candidate.
Read also...