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Timeform Daily View | Thursday preview and tips



Timeform Daily View | Thursday preview and tips

Andrew Asquith provides an overview of the key things to note on Day 1 of Newmarket’s July Festival.

Three points of interest

Hamish has excellent record in testing conditions

Newmarket have received 29mm of rain in the last 24 hours which has changed the official going to soft, good to soft in places, and that will be music to the ears of William Haggas, trainer of Hamish, who goes particularly well in easy ground.

Hamish has 11 career victories to his name, with seven of those coming when the ground description had soft in it and, though he is now an eight-year-old, he proved at least as good as ever when runner-up to Luxembourg in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom at the end of May.

That was his first start back in top-level company since he gave Kyprios a race in the 2022 Irish St Leger and he proved he is still up to competing at the highest level by running a cracker, sticking to his task well in the closing stages against one who very much had the run of the race.

Hamish moves down slightly in class now and sets a healthy standard on form – he’s at least 6lb clear of this field on Timeform weight-adjusted ratings – and this looks an excellent opportunity for him to record his sixth win in his last seven starts.

Whistlejacket will relish step back up in trip

Whistlejacket is a brother to very smart juvenile Little Big Bear, who won four of his five starts as a juvenile, notably the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot and the Phoenix Stakes by an impressive seven lengths.

Whistlejacket wasn’t able to emulate his brother at Royal Ascot last month, but he was impressive when winning a listed event previously, and still shaped like a horse who has lots of quality when fourth in the Norfolk Stakes.

Admittedly, he failed to meet market expectations, finishing a place behind the same horse he beat comfortably on his previous start, but he strongly left the impression that he’s ready for a return to six furlongs.

Faster ground may also have contributed to his below-par performance, but he will have easier conditions at Newmarket, and he’s expected to show his true potential back over further.

Charlie Appleby top trainer at Newmarket’s July Course

Over the past five seasons, Charlie Appleby is the winning-most trainer at the July Course, recording 59 winners at an impressive strike rate of 33%.

He may not have had any winners at Royal Ascot – or many runners for that matter – but he has saddled 11 winners in total at the last three July Festivals and he has several interesting runners on Thursday.

Ancient Wisdom tops Timeform weight-adjusted ratings in the opening Bahrain Trophy Stakes and he will be yet another runner who will appreciate the rain that has fallen. He showed smart form when winning the Autumn Stakes and Futurity Trophy Stakes last season and he didn’t shape badly when runner-up to impressive Dante Stakes winner Economics on his return.

Ancient Wisdom was flat in the Derby when last seen, but he may not have been suited by the track on that occasion, and promises to be suited by this longer trip.

Aomori City is another interesting runner in the July Stakes. He created a good impression when landing the odds on his debut at Nottingham last month, displaying signs of greenness when asked for his effort but asserting well in the closing stages.

This represents a big step up, but he should have any amount of improvement in him, and it is probably noteworthy that Appleby pitches Aomori City in at this level on just his second start.

Timeform Tip of the Day

Tropical Island – 15:00 Newmarket

Flag: Horse In Focus

Tropical Island made a winning debut over five furlongs at Ripon last season and she went on to win a nursery at York from a BHA mark of 83, too. She played up beforehand when not quite at the same level in a listed event at York on her final start last season, but she was better behaved on her return at the same venue last month, and also shaped much better than the bare result.

Tropical Island finished a few places behind the reopposing Elmonjed on that occasion, but she travelled through that race like a horse on a good mark, just racing closer to the strong pace than ideal and also leaving the impression she’d come on a fair bit for the run. She races from 1lb lower now and should be very competitive if coming forward for that effort as expected.

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