Lilbourne Lad and Roman Soldier are amongst an entry of 18 runners at the five-day stage for the Group 2 TNT July Stakes, one of the highlights on the opening day of Newmarket’s high quality July Festival that begins on Thursday July 7.
Richard Hannon’s Lilbourne Lad will carry a 3lb penalty against the rest of the field for his impressive win at the Curragh recently, where he proved three-quarters-of-a-length too good for Hard As Nails in landing the Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Railway Stakes, a race that has proved a stepping stone to success for a number of smart performers from the ‘Emerald Isle’ of the years.
A winner of three of his four career starts and surprisingly beaten at odds-on by John Hills’ B Fifty Two (could re-oppose on Thursday) on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course in May, Hannon’s son of Acclamation would be a fascinating contender if given the green light to take his chance and the Newmarket betting reflects this.
There are plenty of horses entered for the race who ran with credit at Royal Ascot, most notably Jeremy Noseda’s Roman Soldier who failed by only a neck to hold the stunning late burst of Aidan O’Brien’s Power in a fine renewal of the Group 2 Coventry Stakes. The winner is now ante-post favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas, and Roman Soldier also figures prominently in the same list and can currently be backed at a best price of 20/1.
Other interesting potential contenders for the July Stakes include the once raced and unbeaten quartet of Richard Hannon’s Harbour Watch, who bolted in at Salisbury on debut, Clive Brittain’s C&D maiden winner Hadaj, Kevin Ryan’s York winner Church Music, and Godolphin’s Citizen’s Charter, who defied market signals to win in pleasing fashion at 16/1 on his racecourse bow at Newcastle a couple of weeks ago.