Oxted ran to a Timeform rating of 126 in landing the July Cup, which identifies him as a well up-to-scratch winner of this Group 1 prize. For context, only seven other horses have achieved a higher figure in winning the race since 2000, and the fact that Oxted was able to accomplish it on his first start at the highest level suggests he may not have finished yet.
Always travelling strongly just behind the leaders, he moved to the front over two furlongs out and just needed to be kept up to his work by Cieren Fallon to land the spoils by a length and a quarter, beating four horses who had all shown very smart form in their respective races at Royal Ascot.
It was a first Group 1 for both Fallon and Oxted’s trainer Roger Teal, and they are entitled to be planning a route through the other top-level sprints as the season progresses. The Nunthorpe could be up next, though Battaash will present an altogether more difficult challenge if reproducing his best form on the Knavesmire.
Appleby’s the pick for National Stakes hat trick
The July Festival at Newmarket also played host to some notable performances among the two-year-olds, with Master of The Seas (110p) and Tactical (109p) both surpassing the standard that had previously been set for the colts by The Lir Jet (108p), the winner of the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Master of The Seas leapt to the top of the standings with a dominant success in the Superlative Stakes, looking an exciting prospect as he forged clear in the final furlong to land the spoils by three lengths. That was just his second start and he should have even more to offer, so he’ll head to the National Stakes at the Curragh with leading claims for the Charlie Appleby yard that has won the last two renewals of that Group 1 with Quorto and Pinatubo.
By contrast, it’s been more than seven years since The Queen last owned the winner of a Group 1, but Tactical could be the horse to put that right on the evidence of his victory in the July Stakes. Well on top at the finish, he has the physique to progress for a while yet and shouldn’t be underestimated if heading to the Prix Morny at Deauville.
Sprinter was the star turn in Geraghty’s career
Barry Geraghty brought his long and illustrious career as a jockey to an end last Saturday night. Geraghty enjoyed far too many big-race wins to be able to discuss them all in such a small space, but it is perhaps his association with two of the best two-mile chasers of the Timeform era for which he is best known.
Geraghty may be unable to separate Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Sacre in his own mind, but there is no doubt so far as Timeform ratings are concerned, with the latter’s peak figure of 192p putting him behind only Arkle (212) and Flyingbolt (210) in our all-time rankings.
Sprinter Sacre’s best performance came when winning his first Champion Chase in 2013, with Geraghty barely needing to break sweat as the pair drew clear in the straight to win by 19 lengths.
That destruction of some top-class rivals had to be seen to be believed, and the same could also be said of Barry Geraghty’s efforts in the saddle on countless other occasions over the years, his big-race acumen often proving decisive.
That sentiment was never truer than at the latest Cheltenham Festival, with his five-timer at the meeting proving an appropriate final act in the career of one of the greatest jockeys of the modern era.
*The latest odds are bang up to date on our new bet widget
- Grab racing previews from the UK, Ireland and the rest of the globe here
- Horse Racing: How to watch racing for free with Paddy Power
- Placing bets is easier than ever with Paddy Power News’ live odds banners