July Cup betting tips: U S Navy Flag the fancy in Newmarket feature

The 2018 July Cup betting tips given by Horsebetting.com experts for the big 6f Group 1 sprint at Newmarket on Saturday, 14 July include U S Navy Flag, who is a fascinating contender now dropped back in trip. Blue Point commands respect in this cavalry charge at the July Festival, while Sands Of Mali may be worth an each-way bet. Find out why when you read our 2018 July Cup betting tips.

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Odds
5/1
Selection
U S Navy Flag
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Odds
100/30
Danger
Blue Point
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Odds
8/1
E/W
Sands Of Mali
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Punters could be saluting U S Navy Flag after July Cup

Aidan O’Brien has trained three former winners of the valuable Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket, and U S Navy Flag is a fascinating contender for the feature 6f contest on Saturday (14:15) now dropped back in trip.

Connections have tried this three-year-old son of War Front at a mile on four of his last five outings without much success. He just hasn’t shaped like a stayer, but did run with credit when a 2 3/4 lengths runner-up to Romanised in the Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh on his penultimate start.

U S Navy Flag soon led and set a strong pace, but ultimately couldn’t close the race out and was headed 100 yards from home with no extra in the tank. These front-running tactics are a familiar story, but they aren’t working over a mile, so the drop back in trip looks a wise decision by the powers that be at Ballydoyle.

As a Group 1 juvenile winner over 6f at Newmarket, albeit on the Rowley Mile course, U S Navy Flag returns to the trip which has brought about three of his four career successes. As one of five for his yard, he is the chosen mount of stable jockey Ryan Moore, who has twice partnered him to victory including at this venue over 7f.

O’Brien and his principal owners are making another serious bid to land the July Cup here and, as U S Navy Flag is the highest rated of their runners off an official mark of 113, he should be making his presence felt at a distance that looks sure to better suit his running style.

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Blue Point commands respect

Of the older horses, who must give 6lb to the three-year-olds that line up in this, Blue Point heads the betting for Godolphin and retained trainer Charlie Appleby after winning the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out, so his credentials are respected.

Although that Group 1 prize is over the flying five furlongs, he is twice a Group 3 winner over 6f and also landed a Group 2 when a juvenile at York. Ascot is Blue Point’s course, but he has also ran well on the Rowley Mile here at Newmarket when twice placing as a two-year-old.

Regular rider William Buick gets a great tune out of this son of Shamardal, having partnered him to five of his six career wins and they have been pot hunting around the world of late. Blue Point returned to action when an unlucky head second in a valuable Group 2 sprint at Meydan over 5f in February.

He was gaining all the way to be nearest at the finish, but a trip to Hong Kong in April proved fruitless when an 11-length last of nine in a Group 1. Blue Point soon made amends for that, however, when emerging from the pack to upset Europe’s top sprinter Battaash and hugely respected American filly Lady Aurelia and take the King’s Stand.

The four-year-old is now on a career high mark of 120 but, given the commanding way he put that Group 1 contest to bed at Royal Ascot last time out, it is not beyond him. Only Australian raider Redkirk Warrior is rated better, but he disappointed previously and Frankie Dettori has lost the ride on him.

Blue Point has attracted plenty of support in the ante post betting on this race and, if turning up in the same shape to Newmarket as his happy hunting ground, is expected to be involved in the finish.

Side with Sands Of Mali each-way

Sands Of Mali was an unlucky loser last time out, but looks a solid each-way bet. A Group 2 winner both as a juvenile and on his penultimate outing at Haydock this season, the three-year-old impressively made all in the Gimcrack Stakes at York’s Ebor Festival last season to score by 2 3/4 lengths from Invincible Army.

With nothing to fear from that re-opposing rival, having gamely held him off in a sustained duel in the Sandy Lane Stakes this term, Sands Of Mali is a sprinter who is suited down to the ground by this trip.

Trained by Richard Fahey, the colt finally performed in a large field when half-a-length runner-up to Eqtidaar, who also re-opposes here, in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

He raced in the stands’ side group of the 22-runner contest and, despite losing his place two out, rallied superbly to lead his bunch of horses before the furlong marker and take overall second 50 yards from the line.

Sands Of Mali looked to be reeling Eqtidaar; so, now they are drawn in stalls much closer together than at Ascot, it would be no surprise to see the placings reversed. This is a typically hot renewal of the July Cup and so there are many potential each-way punts, but Sands Of Mali has the speed and guts to slog it out and be involved in the finish.

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