Seven thrilling days to excite racing lovers and football fans alike
The summer season and weather is in full swing and this week works towards the three days of the Newmarket Moet & Chandon July festival. Here is the schedule to follow on the website and in the newspaper.
We find out this morning more about Saturday's Moet & Chandon July festival centrepiece that is the Darley July Cup, with the latest forfeits and the £40,000 supplementary stage. The rest of Saturday's crammed programme also takes shape with the five-day entries as well as updated contenders for the early-closing bet365 Bunbury Cup at Newmarket and the 59th John Smith's Cup at York.
Wolverhampton hosts an additional fixture after its Tuesday card received a mammoth 295 entries! The unique eight-race card features three races, with three divisions of the 7f and 1m4f handicaps and two divisions of the 6f handicap. Less busy will be Worcester and Ayr followed by Ripon, Roscommon and Windsor in the evening.
Thursday's declarations are the morning interest with the Group 2 Princess of Wales's Arqana Racing Club Stakes at Newmarket the feature.
This is set to be a grey day's racing as Brighton welcomes back the institution that is Roy Rocket, who seeks his ninth course win after two recent successes.
Pontefract hosts one of its biggest races of the year with the Listed Weatherbys General Stud Book Pipalong Stakes that gives ageing fillies and mares a chance to earn some black type.
Wolverhampton race again while Uttoxeter and Roscommon keep jumps fans happy.
A day when England's attempt to reach the World Cup final at the expense of Croatia (7pm kick-off) will take the headlines.
Racing bows to this with a lower-key programme from Lingfield, Catterick and Yarmouth in the afternoon with Bath and Kempton taking on the football in the evening.
Earlier in the day Friday's fields are revealed with Newmarket featuring the Group 1 Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes.
When the hangovers subside (celebrating or drowning sorrows) there will be the final fields for the bulging Saturday cards.
Newmarket kicks off its three-day festival with a couple of Group 2s in the Bahrain Trophy, which has a history of providing William Hill St Leger clues, and the Arqana July Stakes, which could feature John Gosden's impressive Yarmouth debut winner Legends Of War and Coventry Stakes runner-up Advertise.
There are six other Flat meetings, three in the afternoon and three in the evening.
Rarely is Ascot third string in the pecking order but that is the case on Friday as Newmarket and York boast Group races, with another three evening meetings completing the day's racing.
The second day of the July meeting at Flat headquarters is the focus with the Falmouth and then the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes, better known by some traditionalists as the Cherry Hinton.
Where to start. The day each year when owners, trainers and particularly jockeys are vexed by the difficult choices of where to be to best advantage. Ready the helicopters – even if there is little over two hours from start to finish of the big-money features.
Newmarket has the Group 1 headliner in the July Cup and the valuable Bunbury Cup but York turns heads with the winner of the John Smith's Cup pocketing around £125,000, backed up by the Group 3 Silver Cup and Listed City Walls. Ascot has the temptation of the Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile, a Group 2 with £135,000 in the prize-money pool.
Salisbury and Hamilton plus Newton Abbot over jumps stretch racing into the late evening.
World Cup final day may or may not have England centre stage but the finish of the Hong Kong season is well worth an early alarm call for the Sha Tin finale. Zac Purton and departing champion Joao Moreira have been lighting up the closing fixtures with their spellbinding duel.
On Saint Swithin's Day it is all jumps domestically, with Perth, Southwell and Stratford. Perhaps a little rain on the day, given the 40-day legend, would not go amiss.
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