Charlie Hills: trainer of leading July Cup fancy Magical Memory
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By James Burn 8:00AM 9 JUL 2016
CHARLIE HILLS saddled Muhaarar to win the July Cup 12 months ago and aims to repeat the dose on Saturday afternoon with Magical Memory or Cotai Glory.
Fourth behind Twilight Son in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Magical Memory is vying for favouritism at 6-1 with his old rival and Hills is keen on his chance.
“I’d like to think the quick ground will help him and he’s seems to have a nice draw with plenty of pace around him,” the Lambourn trainer said. “I’ve been delighted with him since Ascot and he hasn’t got much to find with the likes of Twilight Son.”
King’s Stand runner-up Cotai Glory is available at 33-1 and is an important ride for Hills’s apprentice Michael Murphy.
“He’s got to stay six furlongs, but the ground will suit him a lot better than Ascot,” said Hills. “There’s no reason he can’t get six, but it is a stiff six. He looks very well.
“It’s a big ride for Michael and he deserves it. He rides the horse a lot at home and gets on with him, so it makes sense for him to ride.”
Limato’s preference for fast ground is well known but Henry Candy is slightly concerned about the prospect of the going being too fast for his other contender Twilight Son, who is bidding to become the fourth horse in the last seven years to complete the Diamond Jubilee- July Cup double.
Candy had a job getting Twilight Son to Royal Ascot, but things went smoothly when he did get there, registering his second Group 1 victory under Ryan Moore.
Moore rides Air Force Blue for the Coolmore operation, so Martin Harley takes over.
“He was in very good form before Ascot and he seems in the same form now,” said Candy. “We’ve had no hold-ups, but the ground is giving me some concern. I hope there’s a drop of rain to take the sting out of it, but I don’t think there’s much about. He’ll run though and he’ll be a straightforward ride for Martin.”
Air Force to take off?
One horse who will certainly appreciate fast conditions is Air Force Blue, last season’s leading two-year-old.
The three-time Group 1-winning juvenile has put up a couple of tame performances over a mile this season but punters expect the drop back in trip and return to a faster surface to suit Aidan O’Brien’s charge.
Air Force Blue is a general 7-1 chance (from 10s on Friday evening) and it is not inconceivable that he will be challenging for favouritism come the off time.
The going at Newmarket remains good to firm after officials elected to water on Friday evening. A total of 3mm was applied to the course after racing.
Conditions were very much on the quick side on Friday as Alice Springs shattered the course record in the Falmouth Stakes.
There is a chance of a shower late Saturday morning but the day is expected be largely dry with sunny spells.