Lack of standout July Cup candidate gives Cape Byron hope

Updated: 14/07/2024


Roger Varian is confident of a good July Cup showing from Cape Byron with the trip “tailor-made” for his 13/2 chance.

The absence of a standout sprinter in the July Cup ensures it is a ‘nice year to have a runner in the race’, according to Cape Byron’s trainer, Roger Varian.

The five-year-old appears a much-improved performer this term, having recorded successive wins at Ascot in handicaps.

The latest of those saw Cape Byron dropped to 6f and running out an impressive winner of last month’s Wokingham handicap at the Royal Meeting.

That was his first try over a sprinting trip and Varian felt it was meriting of group-race level. His charge is unexposed in this sphere and, while likely facing his toughest challenge, trades at 13/2 with Betfred to score a July Cup win.

His trainer feels this big prize at Newmarket is well worth going after, given the open nature of this year’s race.

“He seems in good form. I thought his Wokingham win was comprehensive in a very competitive handicap carrying a large weight. It was a Group performance in some description,” said Varian.

“Whether it was a Group One performance, he probably needs to improve again to win a July Cup. You could argue he is still unexposed at the trip, but I think a stiff six furlongs like Newmarket should be tailor-made for him.”

Commonwealth Cup winner Advertise is the 7/2 favourite to win the July Cup, as Martyn Meade’s charge takes on older horses for the first time.

Dream Of Dreams put up a fine effort in defeat at Royal Ascot while Aidan O’Brien’s Ten Sovereigns is also a respected contender for the Classic generation. Former winner Limato and Brando represent the elder statesmen and Varian feels it is anybody’s to win.

“If you are looking at Royal Ascot form, I thought Advertise was very impressive – and you give him a lot of respect, because he is a dual Group One winner now and he could bring the classiest form into the race,” he added.

“Sir Michael Stoute’s horse (Dream Of Dreams) chased home Blue Point and put in a Group One performance without winning. Ten Sovereigns may yet bounce back.

“There are some nice horses in the race, but you could argue there is not a sprinter stamping his authority on the division at the moment. It is an open year, so you could say it is a nice year to have a runner in the race.”

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