Newmarket: Spot plays for July Festival on Saturday

July 14th, 2023

It's been a good week to stand against heavy favorites at the Newmarket July Festival. On Thursday, odds-on choices Tower of London and Adayar went down in the Bahrain Trophy (G3) and Princess of Wales's (G2), respectively, while Friday's action saw the fillies Star of Mystery and Via Sistina, respectively, fall short in the Duchess of Cambridge (G2) and Falmouth (G1).

Hoping this anti-favorite trend continues into the third and final day of the fixture on Saturday, here are a couple of horses of interest in the final two Group affairs.

Race 4: Superlative (G2), 10:25 a.m. ET

Seven furlongs will be a minor step up in trip for #9 Son (15-1), who looked good winning on his second appearance last month at Newbury by 2 1/4 lengths over Soldier's Gold, who has since come back to win twice, including on the Friday card at Ascot. Son had also looked promising on debut, picking up late when third going five furlongs at Ascot in mid-May.

From the first crop of the top miler Too Darn Hot, Son is kin to Italian 2000 Guineas (G3) winner Poeta Diletto, and like many others in this field, is open to significant improvement. Trainer Richard Hannon has won this race twice in the last decade, while his now-retired father won the Superlative four times from 2001-2012.

Race 6: July Cup (G1), 11:35 a.m. ET

The lone Group 1 feature in Britain to have eluded superstar jockey Frankie Dettori, this six-furlong dash will remain closed to him because of his current suspension. That doesn't mean, however, that his intended mount, #4 Kinross (9-2), is any less likable. Indeed, Dettori's absence presumably helps the price.

Rain on Friday and into Saturday should give Kinross the ease in the ground he will like and might turn this into a stiffer test that a seven-furlong specialist like himself can win. I view his modest, season-opening seventh in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee (G1) as merely a prep; he's never been a consistent lover of Ascot, and connections' goal was always to have him ready to give Frankie a big shot at a July Cup.

Although giving three to six pounds away to the other major players, Kinross looks playable with a step forward second off the layoff.