The July Festival at Newmarket always garners a lot of interest among fans of flat racing, with thousands of excited spectators flocking to the Suffolk racecourse to get a glimpse of the action. With the TV cameras also in attendance, it’s one of the UK’s biggest summer racing festivals.
All the top trainers and jockeys target the biggest races at the July Festival, so with the 2022 edition having come and gone, let’s take a look a selection of the winners from across the three days.
Persian Force – July Stakes
The first Group 2 race of the July Festival was the July Stakes, held on the opening Thursday, or Ladies Day as it is more commonly referred to. There were no surprises, as Persian Force, odds-on favourite in the horse betting prior to the race, produced a strong performance to win by just over a length. Claiming the glory were trainer Richard Hannon and jockey Rossa Ryan, as Persian Force made it three wins from four outings this year.
Yibir – Princess of Wales’s Stakes
The feature race of Ladies Day was the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Stakes, and there was a familiar partnership laying claim to the spoils, as William Buick rode Yibir to victory for trainer Charlie Appleby. It was a pretty comfortable win in the end, with over two lengths separating Yibir from second-place Living Legend.
Mawj – Duchess of Cambridge Stakes
Turning our attention to Friday’s action, the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes was another Group 2 race that had the punters intrigued. It was a close-run thing in the end, with 4/1 chance Mawj ultimately pipping pre-race favourite Lezoo to the post by just half a length. Jockey Ray Dawson and Saeed bin Suroor were left celebrating after a fine display from Mawj, who got back to winning ways after a defeat at Ascot next month.
Prosperous Voyage – Falmouth Stakes
One of the highlights of the Newmarket July Festival is the Falmouth Stakes, which is one of two Group One races over the three days. This year, there was something of a shock, as heavy favourite Inspiral was denied by 1/71 shot Prosperous Voyage. It was a fine performance by jockey Rob Hornby, and it’s fair to say Prosperous Voyage’s win turned plenty of heads at Newmarket.
Isaac Shelby – Superlative Stakes
The Superlative Stakes was another race where the favourite was forced to settle for second place, as Isaac Shelby got the better of Victory Dance to snatch victory by just a head. It was a hugely entertaining battle, but Isaac Shelby had the burst of pace when it mattered most to secure a second successive victory in his nascent career. Jockey Sean Levey and trainer Brian Meehan deserve plenty of credit.
Alcohol Free – July Cup
The feature race of the entire July Festival at Newmarket is the July Cup Stakes, and the 2022 edition lived up to the billing, with Alcohol Free producing a tremendous performance to seal the win. A burst of pace towards the end saw Alcohol FreebeatNaval Crown by a length and a half, securing a sensational second Group One win of the Festival for jockey Hornby. “Two Group Ones in two days, who’d have thought it? It’s been a crazy year but I’m in a very privileged position to ride top-class horses,” Hornby, who had never won a Group One race before this meeting, reflected.“So many people helped me to get here.”