Newmarket July Festival Betting Tips – 11th to 13th July 2019

Blurred Rachorse

The big summertime highlight of the Royal Ascot Festival may be in the record books by the time we head into July each year, but racing certainly isn’t done with quite yet when it comes to multi-day betting extravaganzas. Glorious Goodwood is of course still to come, but before then, the HQ of the flat game gets in on the act with its excellent July Festival.

Offering a whopping £1.2million in total prize money across the three days of equine action, we have seven Group class contests on offer in total, all building up to Saturday’s Group 1 sprint spectacular, the July Cup itself.

About the July Festival

Newmarket July Racecourse

Racecourses tend to be known for one or two events that take place at them during the year, with Aintree as the home of the Grand National and Cheltenham Racecourse being the venue for the Cheltenham Festival, which includes the Gold Cup, being perfect examples of this phenomenon. Almost all such venues host other meetings throughout the year, however, such as the November Meeting at Cheltenham and the Family Countryside Day at Aintree.

Newmarket is no exception, known as it is as the home of the 1,000 Guineas and the 2,000 Guineas but hosting many more top-class races throughout the year. One such example takes the form of the July Festival, which sees three days of excellent horse racing take place at the Suffolk course every summer. Whilst the racing is the obvious centre-piece of the Festival, there’s plenty taking place off the course to make it an attention-grabbing event. From the Darley July Cup on the course to the Style Awards off it, there’s plenty here to entertain everyone.

The Festival Explained

The July Festival at Newmarket Racecourse is usually held in the month of July, as you’d expect. Sometimes other events stop this from the being the case, meaning that it has to be held in one of the other summer months instead, but organisers keep it as close to July as possible at all times. The name comes as much from the fact that the racing all takes place on the July Course at Newmarket as the month of the year it occurs in.

The three day Festival usually gets underway on a Thursday with Ladies Day, which includes the Best Dressed Lady Competition. Day two is Feel Good Friday, which has been known as Abu Dhabi Day in the past because of sponsorship by the Emirati country. The week always feels as though it’s building up to the Saturday, however, which is no surprise when you realise that that’s the day that the Darley July Cup takes place on, giving its name to day three.

On all three days the aprés racing is nearly as popular as the racing itself, with racegoers enjoying an evening’s entertainment courtesy of a guests DJ or other musical accompaniment.

Newmarket July Festival Race List

Here’s a look at each of the days in turn and the race cards as they happened in 2019.

RacePrize MoneyAges
Day One – Ladies Day
Bahrain Trophy £175,000 3 Years Old
July Stakes £80,000 2 Year Old Colts & Geldings
Bet365 Handicap £100,000 3 Years Old
Princess Of Wales's Stakes £100,000 3 Years Old +
Maiden Fillies' Stakes £20,000 2 Year Old Fillies (EBF Eligible)
Henry Cecil Stakes £50,000 3 Years Old
Handicap £20,000 3 Years Old +
Day Two – Feel Good Friday
Bet365 Handicap £80,000 3 Years Old
Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes £80,000 2 Year Old Fillies
Bet365 Trophy £120,000 4 Years Old +
Falmouth Stakes £200,000 3 Year Old + Fillies & Mares
Weatherbys EBF Maiden Stakes £12,000 2 Year Old Colts & Geldings
Cambridge Handicap £25,000 3 Years Old +
JFD Handicap £25,000 3 Years Old +
Day Three – July Cup Day
Rossdales Maiden Fillies' Stakes £12,000 2 Year Old Fillies (EBF Eligible)
Bet365 Mile Handicap £30,000 3 Years Old
Superlative Stakes £80,000 2 Years Old
Bunbury Cup £120,000 3 Years Old
Fillies' Handicap £25,000 3 Year Old Fillies (EBF Eligible)
July Cup £500,000 3 Years Old +
Maritime Cargo Handicap £20,000 3 Years Old +

Day One Races in Detail

The ladies put on their best frocks and the gentlemen get dressed up to the nines as the desire to impress off the course is almost as competitive as the need to win on it. This isn’t a day for frivolity, however, as you’ll see from the level of racing that takes place during its running.

Of those races, some are sightly more noteworthy than others, so here’s a look at the standout ones.

The Bahrain Trophy

This Group 3 race used to be known as the H & K Commissions Handicap and was raced over one mile, six furlongs and one hundred and seventy-five yards. It was made a Listed offering in 1990 and then the following year took on its current name. It wasn’t cut to its current length of one mile and five furlongs until 2006, but the change in length eventually led to an upgrade to Group 3 in 2009.

Raced right-handed, it’s open for three-year-olds with a weight of nine stone one pound. Fillies get an allowance of three pounds, whilst Group 1 and Group 2 winners receive a five pound penalty. Group 3 race winners also get a penalty, but it’s of three pounds. Frankie Dettori has won the race more than any other jockey since 1986 thanks to his seven victories. Horses that do well in this race are often later considered for the St Leger.

The July Stakes

Given it takes place during the July Festival, it’s no major surprise that the July Stakes is seen as quite an important race. It’s a Group 2 race that has been taking place since 1786, making it one of the Festival’s oldest offerings. Indeed, it is only open to two-year-old colts and geldings, making it the oldest such race in British flat racing. Originally open to horses of any gender, the restriction to colts and geldings came about in 1977.

When the current grading of races came into effect in 1971 this was classed as a Group 3 race, moving to Group 2 in 2003. The weight for this race is nine stone, with Group 1 and Group 2 race winners running with an additional three pound penalty. It’s run on the straight over six furlongs and has a corresponding race for fillies in the form of the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes.

The Princess of Wales's Stakes

Open to horses aged three and over, the Princess of Wales's Stakes has the following weight information:

  • 3-year-olds: 8 stone 8 pounds
  • 4-year-olds and over: 9 stone 6 pounds
  • Fillies & mares get a 3 pound allowance
  • Group 1 winners get a 5 pound penalty
  • Group 2 winners get a 3 pound penalty

The event was established in 1894 and named in honour of Alexandra of Denmark, who had become the Princess of Wales thirty-one years earlier. The race was originally thought of as one of the most valuable of races open to any aged horse and was initially based over one mile. The extension in the race’s length to its current one mile four furlongs occurred in 1902.

Run right-handed, the race was part of Group 3 when the current form of grading came about in 1971. It was upgraded to a Group 2 offering seven years later and has remained their ever since. As it’s open to horses of any age, a number have won the race more than once. Lance Chest became the first to do so in 1912 and 1913, with others including Lomond in 1965 and 1966 and Big Orange in 2015 and 2016. Lester Piggott is the most successful jockey thanks to his eight wins.

The Sir Henry Cecil Stakes

It’s not often that Listed races have the sort of prestige that this race does, especially not ones as young as it. It was inaugurated in 2007 under the title of the Xplor Conditions Stakes, becoming the Stubbs Stakes and gaining Listed status six years later. It was renamed after the ten time British Champion Trainer Sir Henry Cecil in 2014, a year after his death.

The race is only open to three-year-olds and they can’t have won a Group 1 or Group 2 race since they turned two. There’s some weight information you might want to know about, which is as follows:

  • 9 stone 3 pounds
  • Fillies get a 5 pound allowance
  • Winners of Listed races get a 3 pound penalty
  • Group 3 race winners get a 5 pound penalty

The race takes place over a mile and is run on the straight. As well as a decent bit of prize money, winners of the first race in 2014 received a rose from Warren Place stables, where Sir Henry Cecil had a garden.

Day Two Races in Detail

As the informal name of the day suggests, this is all about having a good time and enjoying the racing. It’s an event in every sense of the word, with the chance for groups of friends to nominated for the Style Awards and win some great prizes. Don’t underestimate what’s taking place on the course, however, with the horses putting their all into winning some stunning races.

Whilst every race feels like a ‘must watch’ in the biggest racing days, there are two that really do stand out from the crowd on day two of the Festival.

The Duchess of Cambridge Stakes

If you thought that this race was named after Prince William’s wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, then you’d be right. That might give the impression that it’s a young race, but actually it was given this moniker in 2013 to celebrate their wedding. Previously it was known as the Cherry Hinton Stakes when it was first introduced in 1947. It was a Group 3 offering when the grading was introduced in 1971, gaining promotion to Group 2 in 1996.

The race is only open to two-year-old fillies and if you’ve read our guide to day one of the Festival then you’d know that the July Stakes is the equivalent race for male horses. The weight is nine stone, with Group 1 and Group 2 race winners receiving a three pound penalty. Run on the straight over six furlongs, there’s an equivalent race at Royal Ascot named the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.

If you’re wondering if this race will tell you anything about any other flat races then you’re in luck; winners of this have been known to win the 1,000 Guineas Stakes in the season after they’ve done well in this race. Attraction did so in 2004, for example.

The Falmouth Stakes

The Falmouth Stakes has been taking place at Newmarket since 1911, when it was restricted to fillies aged three. Nowadays it’s fillies and mares aged three and over, with weight information of eight stone twelve pounds for the three-year-olds and nine stone seven pounds for horses aged four and up.

Named in honour of the sixth Viscount Falmouth, Evelyn Boscawen, the race was classed as a Group 3 offering when the grading came into effect in 1971. It gained an initial promotion to Group 2 in 1987 and then a further one to Group 1 in 2004. The change to allow older fillies and mares to compete in it came about in 1974 and the following year it became known as the Child Stakes when Child’s Bank sponsored it. The race is run on the straight over one mile.

Day Three Races in Detail

You can always tell if a race is given a level of importance by seeing if a day is named after it. Given Saturday is known as Darley July Cup Day, you can bet that the race of the same name is the one that takes the headlines. That’s not to be dismissive of the other races that take place over the day, however, as there are some crackers in there for your entertainment.

The final day of the Festival sees three particularly noteworthy races taking place, one of which is obviously the race that the day is named in honour of. Here’s a closer look at each of them.

The Superlative Stakes

Raced over seven furlongs and open to two-year-olds, the Superlative Stakes was originally known as the Bernard van Cutsem Stakes in honour of the racehorse trainer Bernard van Cutsem who died in 1975. It gained its current name in 1991 not because it’s considered to be such an amazing race, but in memory of the 1983 winner of the July Stakes Superlative.

The race was a Listed offering until it gained Group 3 status in 2003 and then moved up to Group 2 three years later. Open to two-olds with a weight of nine stone 1 pound, there’s a three pound allowance for fillies and a three pound penalty for winners of Group 1 and Group 2 races. The race is run over seven furlongs on the straight.

The Bunbury Cup

This handicap race is open to horses aged three and over. It takes place on the straight over seven furlongs and is named after a man who served as the Jockey Club’s Senior Steward between 1740 and 1821, Sir Charles Bunbury. He was the man who introduced both the 1,000 and the 2,000 Guineas, so it’s no surprise that Newmarket Racecourse felt he was worth honouring!

The race’s most successful horse is Mine, who won it for the first time in 2002 and then consecutively in 2005 and 2006. As with so many other races run at Newmarket, the most successful jockey is Lester Piggott thanks to his seven wins between 1966 and 1994. That included back-to-back wins in the race on En Attendant in 1993 and 1994.

The July Cup

It goes without saying that the July Cup is the main even on the final day of the Festival, the race that the rest of the event feels as though it’s been building up to. Run on the straight over six furlongs, many consider this to be the most valuable and prestigious sprint in British racing. Indeed, the winners are often declared to be the best sprinter of the season in all of Europe.

The race was inaugurated in 1876 and when the grading system was introduced in 1971 it was immediately classed as a Group 2 offering. If was moved up to Group 1 seven years later and it has remained there ever since. Open to three-year-olds and over, the weight is nine stone for three-year-olds and nine stone six pounds for those aged four and up, with fillies receiving a three pound allowance. In 2008 the race became the sixth leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, which goes as follows:

  • The Lightning Stakes (Flemington Racecourse, Australia)
  • The Takamatsunomiya Kinen (Chukyo Racecourse, Japan)
  • The Al Quoz Sprint (Meydan Racecourse, Dubai)
  • The Chairman’s Sprint Prize (Sha Tin Racecourse, Hong Kong)
  • The King’s Stand Stakes (Royal Ascot, England)
  • The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Royal Ascot, England)
  • The July Cup (Newmarket Racecourse, England)
  • The Sprinters Stakes (Nakayama Racecourse, Japan)
  • The Age Classic (Flemington Racecourse, Australia)
  • The Hong Kong Sprint (Sha Tin Racecourse, Hong Kong)

Sundridge is the race’s most successful horse thanks to its three consecutive wins in 1902, 1903 and 1904. Lester Piggott is the undisputed best jockey in the history of the race, picking up ten career wins between 1957 and 1992.