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July Festival Ratings Update: Angel on song

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In part 1 of this week's Ratings Update, Nic Doggett highlights the major changes to the Timeform ratings from the three days of Newmarket's July Festival.

Thursday

Raheen House (up 2 lb to 112) came into an up-to-scratch renewal of the Bahrain Trophy on the back of an excellent effort in the King Edward VII and, with the favourite Atty Persse (now 109) disappointing, didn't need to improve on that effort to win at this slightly lower level. He's a smart, tough and consistent sort, and saw out this longer trip well; he'll probably stay 1¾m and the St Leger will surely be his target. Runner-up Desert Skyline (now 110) was ridden more positively this time and seemed suited by it, while Sofia's Rock (also up 5 lb to 110) looked up against it in this grade but excelled himself in third. Atty Persse (now 109), on the other hand, was beaten by more than lack of stamina over this 1f longer trip, clearly not 100% on the day.

Elsewhere on the card, the Norfolk third Cardsharp (up 9 lb to 109) appreciated the step back up in trip when winning the July Stakes; races such as the Richmond and Vintage Stakes are possible targets at Goodwood. U S Navy Flag (also up 9 lb, to 103) took time, but is progressing now in blinkers; his full sister, Roly Poly, kept on improving with racing/experience last year, and he's bred to stay 7f. Hawkbill (up 1 lb to 124) was allowed an easy lead in a strong renewal of the Princess of Wales’s Stakes and took advantage. He disappointed only 11 days earlier in France, but was straight back to his best to gain this fourth pattern success; it's possible that he'll be given a break before autumn targets. Frontiersman (down 1 lb to 124) has improved a lot this year and, with cheekpieces fitted, more or less backed up his Coronation Cup second; he may head to the King George in a few weeks.

Friday

They broke the two-year-old record in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes, and, although a tailwind assisted them with the fast time, a relatively high view is taken of the form. The thriving Clemmie (up 2 lb to 107p) followed up her recent Group 3 at the Curragh with a better performance in this deeper race. A full sister to 2000 Guineas winner Churchill, there's no doubt that she'll be suited by 7f+. Nyaleti (down 4 lb to 102p) ran very well in second, just as she had in the Chesham, again finding only one of the top Ballydoyle juveniles too good. Mamba Noire (up 6 lb to 99) appreciated stepping up to this trip, finishing closer to Clemmie than she had at the Curragh 12 days earlier.

There was a surprising lack of quality, relatively speaking, in the Falmouth and the form is rated lower than the standard you'd expect at the top level. Roly Poly (up 3 lb to 116) took advantage of this easier task with nothing of Winter’s calibre to beat, nor any of the top older miling fillies. She'll probably be kept busy, but the Breeders Cup Filly And Mare Turf could be a good backend target, run over 9f at Del Mar this year. Wuheida (up 3 lb to 114p) has clearly made a full recovery from her stress fracture and ran a big race to take second after 10 months off. She's bred to be suited by further than 1m this year and remains an exciting prospect. Arabian Hope (now 112) has come a long way already this year and, even in a below-par Group 1, this was a big jump up in class; there's little doubt that she can win a pattern race, though.

Saturday

Above The Rest (up 4 lb to 115) proved better than ever to bag the big prize he's often threatened when winning the Bunbury Cup, the presence in the saddle of a good 5-lb claimer the final piece of the jigsaw; he'll continue to give a good account in races of this nature. Sir Dancealot (up from 106? to 116) turned in a significant career-best, the big-field scenario ideal for his strong-travelling hold-up style. Three-year-olds have won the last two renewals of the Stewards' Cup and he'd be a very interesting runner in that race, set to race off this mark and well equipped to drop back to 6f. Steady Pace (up 1 lb to 116), runner-up in the Wokingham last month, ran at least as well as then, racing from the same mark and for most of the way looking the best horse at the weights until the extra 1f seemed to find him out late. He'll be a major player in the Stewards' Cup, though he'll be racing off his new mark in that. Tony Curtis (up 2 lb to 112) proved at least as good as ever having his first go in a handicap, very comfortable with 7f trying the trip for the first time since his two-year-old days, though going back to 1m won't be an issue with a view to the Betfred Mile at Goodwood.

Superlative Stakes winner Gustav Klimt (up 8 lb to 112p) did very well to overcome trouble and is clearly a smart prospect; he is likely to be suited by 1m+ in time, though the Futurity Stakes is reportedly a likely next target. Nebo (102 from 98p) had no problem with the extra 1f and is improving all of the time; the Acomb Stakes at York next month could be an ideal race for him, although closer to hand the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood might be considered. Great Prospector (up 16 lb to 100p) coped with the step up in grade and left his debut form well behind; races like the Vintage/Acomb will be on his radar too.

The anticipated high-quality matchup in the July Cup didn't materialise, largely because of a false pace - the timefigure is notably poor - and while Harry Angel (up 2 lb to 129) might well prove the best of them anyway, there's little doubt others weren't seen to advantage, and the proximity of the front-running Intelligence Cross is evidence of flimsy form. The Clive Cox-trained winner got the Group 1 win his record deserved, this sharper 6f compared to Ascot almost certainly in his favour, though it's at least as significant that this race - unlike that one - went perfectly to plan. He isn't in the Nunthorpe so the Sprint Cup at Haydock, where he was so impressive when winning the Sandy Lane, is likely to be his next port of call. Limato (unchanged on 127), who won this last year, came out the best of the first three from the Diamond Jubilee, looking back to his very best but never threatening to catch a winner that always had the jump on him; he'd be the one to beat if taking up his entry in the valuable Lennox Stakes at Goodwood. Brando (remains on 125) got back on track eight weeks on from his aberration at York, doing very well to finish where he did after starting his effort from out the back in a race run at a false gallop. This confirmed that he's a major player in races at this sort of trip for the rest of the season, with the Prix Maurice de Gheest reportedly next on the agenda. Caravaggio (down to 128 from 129p) could also head to France, having been caught out by a false gallop at a track that suited less well than Ascot (this race run in a time nearly two seconds faster than the Commonwealth Cup). His verdict over Harry Angel last time shows he's better than this, and a third clash (perhaps at Haydock in the Sprint Cup, where the track again might favour Harry Angel) therefore something to look forward to.

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