Starman was forced to miss the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last month due to soft ground but his connections patience was rewarded as the four year old won the July Cup at Newmarket in devastating fashion. Coltish beforehand, the son of Dutch Art also got warm but it didn't prevent him from beating a top-class field of sprinters by upwards of a length and a quarter. In doing so, he was providing Ed Walker with his first ever Group 1 victory since taking out a licence. Luca Cumani's former assistant hadn't enjoyed much good fortune this term, including in the Falmouth Stakes earlier in the week with Primo Bacio enduring a luckless passage in the final couple of furlongs. The Lambourn based handler deserved this win.
However, Starman made it five wins from only six starts on the July course to supplement his win in the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes in May. Six furlongs on good or faster ground is ideal and he is likely to be aimed at the Haydock Sprint Cup, provided conditions are suitable. Art Power ran well in fourth and, while Tim Easterby's charge has failed to win any of his five races in the highest company, he is capable of winning such a prize before the year is out. Given the fact the grey only had Supremacy as company on the far side, he ran a cracker being beaten less than two lengths by Starman. As stated in the past, I wish the King Power owned colt would be ridden with a bit more restraint.
Having backed Dhushan in a valuable staying handicap at Haydock last weekend only for William Haggas' three year old to be withdrawn, the frustration continued at Ascot on Saturday with the grey son of Sea The Stars finishing runner-up in a similar event over twelve furlongs. Due to tackle a mile and six at the Merseyside track seven days earlier, he stayed on well but found the winning post coming too soon. Beaten half a length by First Light, the Melrose Stakes at York (21st August) will surely be on Dhushan's agenda next month. Racing off a mark of 92 at the Berkshire venue, he looks tailormade for the race.
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