Mehmas found only Caravaggio too good in the Coventry Stakes
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Scully 7:45AM 7 JUL 2016
THE Richard Hannon stable has enjoyed great success in the July Stakes in recent years and in Mehmas the operation has a fine chance of adding to that record on Thursday.
Since 2010, four of the six runnings have gone to the yard, with Richard Hannon snr striking with Libranno, Alhebayeb and Anjaal, and most recently his son Richard with Ivawood in 2014. Mehmas arrives at Newmarket hoping to snap a two-race losing run, albeit having been anything but disgraced when second behind Global Applause over a furlong less than today’s trip in the National Stakes at Sandown, before finding only Caravaggio too good in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“I was delighted with his run at Royal Ascot and if he can run the same sort of race again, he’ll take a lot of beating,” said Hannon.
“He’s a good horse with a very good attitude and takes his racing well.”
Gosden charge a threat
It is another Royal Ascot winner who looks set to provide the stiffest competition to Mehmas on Thursday, with the John Gosden-trained Ardad vying for favouritism.
The lightly raced Windsor Castle Stakes winner is unbeaten in two starts but is tackling six furlongs for the first time, a trip that appears to be the optimum for Mehmas.
“He’s up in class and trip but he’s ready to tackle six furlongs and I’ve been pleased with his progress since Royal Ascot,” said Gosden. “He’s pretty versatile as regards ground so we’re hopeful he can get the hat-trick.”
Gosden claimed this prize 12 months ago with the excellent Shalaa, who would likely have been lining up in Saturday’s July Cup were it not for injury.
Dry and warm day expected
The going at Newmarket on Thursday morning was good to firm, good in places, with watering having taken place on Wednesday afternoon.
Clerk of the course Michael Prosser is not expecting any rain for the rest of the opening day of the July Festival, with any showers in the forecast not expected until Thursday evening.
“It’s a lovely morning here, with some thin cloud cover at the moment,” he said.
“It’s actually quite warm at the moment, around 15 degrees with the potential to rise to around 22 maybe. I’m very happy with the conditions.”