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Fahey ready to test rising star Sands Of Mali against top sprinters in July Cup

Sands Of Mali: out for a first Group 1 victory
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Commonwealth Cup runner-up Sands Of Mali is ready to take on the best of the sprinting division in the Darley July Cup on Saturday, according to trainer Richard Fahey.

Fahey said on Sunday: "He's going well, we're happy with him and the plan is to run. We'll take what we get with the ground, he's proven on soft ground and he's proven on quick ground. If I had a choice I'd go for soft, as it might inconvenience others, but it won't be an excuse for us either way."

Sandy Lane winner Sands Of Mali raced away from the main action when second to Eqtidaar at Royal Ascot and Fahey seems confident about his chances of revenge at Newmarket.

He said: "Eqtidaar is a shorter price than us, and he beat us at Ascot so I suppose he's entitled to be. But we didn't have the best of the draw that day and I'm looking forward to having another go against him."

Eqtidaar is a general 7-1 chance for the Newmarket Group 1, while Sands Of Mali is available at 10-1.

Looking at the rest of the field, including sprint stars like Blue Point and Harry Angel, Fahey added: "It will be his first run against the older horses and it looks like everyone is turning up. All we're hoping for is a nice draw among them and we'll hopefully get to see where he stands against the top sprinters."

Watch Sands Of Mali's run in the Commonwealth Cup

One of the most familiar names in the line-up is Limato, who won the July Cup in 2016 and was second to Harry Angel last year.

His trainer Henry Candy said on Sunday: "We'll have a think about it in the morning, but the plan is to go to Newmarket on Saturday. He's been first and second in the race the last two years so we'd be keen to give it a go."

Limato has been disappointing over a mile in his two starts this year but Candy said: "We won't be trying anything different, he'll either fancy it or he won't. He was very keen at Ascot last time, he clearly wanted to be a sprinter and we've got this option of going back to six furlongs at a track he's run well at before."

Limato (white cap) winning the 2016 July Cup
Unsurprisingly given the recent heatwave, conditions at Newmarket are likely to be quick, but clerk of the course Michael Prosser said his team are prepared.

"The prolonged dry spell means we've had only one inch of rain in the last two months, and only 0.5mm in the whole of June," he said.

"However, the course is in excellent condition and we're very happy with the position we're in. We are irrigating the course extensively and the plan is to continue watering in the build-up to the meeting, which starts on Thursday.

"In addition, we are likely to irrigate the course after racing on both Thursday and Friday ahead of the Darley July Cup on Saturday."

Australian-trained Redkirk Warrior, tenth in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, will work on the July course at 8.30am on Monday under big-race jockey Regan Bayliss.

Read exclusive previews from 6pm daily on


All we're hoping for is a nice draw among them and we'll hopefully get to see where he stands against the top sprinters
E.W. Terms
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