The Bunbury Cup (13:40) is a typically competitive high-end handicap, and a case can be made for several, but the relatively unexposed Mukalal makes most appeal.
He was progressive last season, winning three times, and shaped better than the bare result on his return in the Royal Hunt Cup last time. The drop back to seven furlongs here will suit – just what I keep thinking when I do my weekly 5k – and the feeling is he is well up to winning a race of this nature from a mark of 97. His pedigree and physique is an ongoing recommendation – something you can imagine Chris Eubank Jr telling himself when he looks in the mirror on a morning.
The feature July Cup takes place 35 minutes later at 14:15, and is looks a wide-open renewal, with a nice mixture of three-year-olds and older horses. As is usually the case with sprinters, they tend to get better with age and it is the older horses who set the form standard here, notably Blue Point. He proved better than ever to win the King’s Stand Stakes last time, finishing with a rattle in a race which was run at a blistering pace. The step back up to six furlongs hear will hold no fears (he holds the track record over this distance at Ascot) and he looks a worthy favourite.
The mile handicap at 15:20 has only attracted nine runners, but there is plenty of quality on show, and it will likely require a pattern-class performance to win. Saeed bin Suroor won the Princess of Wales’s Stakes here on Thursday, and his horses are generally in great form, so it may be worth chancing Moqarrab, who made an impressive winning return at Wolverhampton last month, recording a good timefigure. He will need to improve again with several unexposed sorts in opposition, but this mark shouldn’t be beyond him now handicapping, and he could be plying his trade at a higher level later in the season.
Not many things are perfect in the world – apart from Anthony Joshua’s boxing record and Domino’s Pizza – but Perfection has impeccable claims in the fillies’ handicap at 15:55. She showed much-improved form when finishing fourth in the Sandringham last time, going off hard but maintaining her lead in the smaller far-side group until late on, beaten only four and a half lengths by one who came from much further back, and is bound for pattern company next. It is quite surprising the handicapper has left her on the same mark and, provided that run hasn’t left its mark, she should take plenty of pegging back in this smaller field.