It's Newmarket's day for fun – but don't miss the future stars
How decent of Newmarket to lay on a summer party to mark the return of its favourite adopted son.
It's well worth celebrating Frankie Dettori, revving up after a trip to the Austrian Grand Prix last Sunday, who takes a couple of rides on his first day back after recovering from the shoulder injury that ruled him out of Royal Ascot.
But this is not the sort of occasion when people need an excuse for having a good time – the July festival is generally seen as a chance for Newmarket to let its hair down.
Across the heath from the Rowley Mile, the atmosphere is very different from the serious business of the championship-defining Guineas in the spring and the Dewhurst and Cheveley Park in the autumn.
Saturday's Darley July Cup may be one of Europe's biggest sprints and Friday's Falmouth a prestigious fillies' Group 1 but the meeting starts with a day for fun, when Pimm's and panamas matter as much as pedigrees and pace angles.
Newmarket's own website mentions the "thrilling racing" and the age-old Newmarket Town Plate on ladies day but also stresses the attraction of the "stylish outfits", the "apres racing with Gok Wan" and the chance to "sample a few of the delicious cocktails".
There's also a new shopping village that apparently offers "everything a fashion-savvy visitor needs".
Keep your wits about you
History suggests this is a day to keep your wits about you – watch carefully and you can spot plenty of future big winners.
True, you did not need to be the new Phil Bull to spot that Big Orange was a good horse as he landed a second straight Princess of Wales's Stakes.
But not everyone would have named Dancing Star as the Stewards' Cup winner straight after her victory in the 6f handicap.
Nor would those paying only scant attention have spotted that runner-up Priceless was a future Group 2-winning sprinter.
And it took a really keen eye to identify Harbour Law, outpaced in fourth in the Bahrain Trophy, as the colt who would land the St Leger next time out.
Prominent in Ascot betting
Bookmakers reckon Frontiersman is the one to single out for the future in this afternoon's Princess of Wales's Arqana Racing Club Stakes and some of them have him as third favourite for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The 6-1 on offer in places would have looked mighty stingy to anyone who saw the Godolphin colt finish fourth of six in a conditions race at Doncaster in April. But he suffered for being taken on in front that day and has put up two high-class efforts since switched to more patient riding tactics.
He is easily excused not being quite able to cope with the cambered track or the gutsy top-notcher Highland Reel in the Coronation Cup and faces neither obstacle today.
They're not invincible
The Arqana July Stakes dates back to 1786 and is the longest-standing two-year-old race in the calendar, yet there will not have been many times in which it featured a clash between Royal Ascot winners, as it does today.
That's not to say that success in the Coventry Stakes and the Windsor Castle makes Rajasinghe and Sound And Silence necessarily the names to remember.
James Tate's Invincible Army was impressive in novice company here last time and his dam Rajeem showed what can happen by landing the Falmouth at 50-1 at the meeting 11 years ago.
Only one horse has ever beaten him
If there's a Harbour Law in this year's Bahrain Trophy it's more than likely to be Atty Persse, who overcame a wide draw when landing the King George V Handicap with something to spare at Royal Ascot.
He's been beaten by only one of the 43 rivals he's taken on in a four-race career and looks a smart middle-distance stayer in the making.
It's anyone's guess who the star will prove to be in the bet635 handicap, an ultra-competitive three-year-old sprint.
But they'll probably be a money-spinner. Success in this £100,000 contest has been followed by victory in the £250,000 Stewards' Cup for the last two winners – you could do an awful lot of damage in the shopping village with that.