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Newmarket July Festival: Shabeeb among Thursday tips

| 07.07.2016

David Metcalf | July 6, 2016

Shabeeb hot stuff in Bahrain Trophy

Shabeeb is progressing at a rate of knots and can take the step up into Group 3 company in his stride to land the 1m 5f Bahrain Trophy which gets proceedings underway on the opening day of Newmarket’s July Festival (14.10).

The Roger Varian trained colt shaped with bags of promise on his sole start as a juvenile when keeping on nicely under tender handling to finish a 3 1/2 length sixth of 17 to one time leading Derby hope Midterm at Newbury.

It was an effort which suggested Shabeeb would have more to offer as a three-year-old once strengthened up, and that view was confirmed when he made a winning return to action at Sandown when running on strongly to score by a cosy 1 1/2 lengths.


The son of Smart Strike backed that up with an impressive success in a classified contest at Doncaster, tracking the leaders before taking up the running at the furlong marker and forging clear to easily beat Montsarrat by six lengths.

Montsarrat has come out and won since, and although the form is not strong in the context of this contest the manner of the victory suggested Shabeeb had a huge engine and needed keeping onside.

Mehmas can capture July Stakes

Mehmas ran a blinder when runner-up last time out and can go one better to land the Group 2 July Stakes (14.40).

The Richard Hannon trained colt looked a very exciting prospect when winning his first two starts at Chester and Newbury, showing a smart turn of foot on both occasions.

Mehmas than ran very well to finish runner-up in the National Stakes at Sandown, before chasing home Caravaggio in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot when last seen in action.

Newbury Saturday

The two year-old travelled strongly in the latter in the hands of Frankie Dettori before keeping on well to go down by 2 1/4 lengths to a colt that looks something special.

That form is the strongest in the line-up, and with Dettori once again in the saddle Mehmas can get back to winning ways.

Projection weighted to go well

In the 6f handicap (15.45), Projection looks on potentially handy mark and decent each-way value in a wide-open contest.

The Roger Charlton trained son of Acclamation won two of his five starts at a juvenile, and in the last of those posted an improved effort when beating Tabarrak by a neck in a conditions contest at Salisbury.

Projection hung right after taking up the lead a furlong from home, but ran on strongly to score with a bit more in hand than the winning margin suggests.


The runner-up has since progressed well to be rated 105, and that makes Projection’s opening handicap mark of 99 look exploitable.

He also now starts off the campaign having been gelded and looks the type who may have more to offer, and another plus is that Projection hails from a yard in good form at present.

Thursday tips

14.10: Shabeeb (NAP)
14.40: Mehmas (NB)
15.15: Exosphere
15.45: Projection (E/W)
16.20: Oh So Terrible
16.55: Tropical Rock
17.30: Crazy Horse
18.05: Soie D’leau


You’ll find more Newmarket July Cup meeting throughout the build-up and event in Coral’s horse racing section.

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David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.