Darley July Cup: Oxted faces strong field of 18 rivals at Newmarket on Saturday for defence of his crown

Last year’s winner Oxted heads a field of 19 declared for the Darley July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday.

Roger Teal’s star sprinter bids to become the first horse since Right Boy in 1958 and 1959 to win the six-furlong showpiece in successive years.

Oxted showed he was back to his best when lifting the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, for his first success since he took this prize in 2020.

  • Teal: Oxted firing on all cylinders
  • Archie Watson’s stable stars set for July Cup

Heading the opposition in what looks one of the hottest renewals for years is Starman. Ed Walker’s Duke of York Stakes winner in May missed the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the Royal meeting due to the soft ground.

Archie Watson has two strong contenders in Dragon Symbol and Glen Shiel, who were runners-up in the Commonwealth Cup and Diamond Jubilee Stakes respectively at the Royal meeting.

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Other winners there going for Group One glory are Charlie Appleby’s Creative Force, winner of the Jersey Stakes, and Wokingham Handicap victor Rohaan.

Appleby also has Glorious Journey, while others in the mix include American raider Extravagant Kid, Art Power, Chil Chil, Supremacy and Brando. Kevin Ryan’s nine-year-old is making his fifth appearance in the race, having finished second, third, sixth and seventh in his four previous attempts.

Winner of the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night and third in the King’s Stand, Extravagant Kid will be ridden by Frankie Dettori for Brendan Walsh, the Cork native who is making a name for himself in America.

Walsh flew in from the States on Monday – and was pleased to be back in Newmarket, where he spent time working for Godolphin and Mark Wallace.

He said ahead of a race that forms another part of this year’s Qipco British Champions Series: “I was delighted with Extravagant Kid when I saw him. He’s done great over here and looks fantastic. I’d forgotten what a great environment Newmarket is for a horse and he’s thrived.

“He ran his race (in the King’ Stand) and we were very pleased to run third in a race like that. Maybe if he’d been drawn on the near side it might have helped, but I’ve no excuses. If he runs as good as that, or maybe a little better, I think it should put him in the mix.

“Frankie was keen to ride him again and there’s nobody better, so we look forward to it. He very rarely runs a bad race and he’s run with the best of them. He was only beaten a length or so in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last year, from stall 14 of 14. That was an excellent run and having already won the Al Quoz over six furlongs we’ve had a very good year with him.

“We’ll probably go home after this, but if he holds his form we’ll prepare him for another go at the Breeders’ Cup.”

The four withdrawals at the 48-hour final declaration stage were Lope Y Fernandez, Ventura Rebel, Final Song and Thunder Moon.

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