Jamie Spencer thinks Astaire has a good each way chance in July Cup


In the 2.00pm I like Oracolo a lot. He’s a bonny horse. He went up 7lbs for winning the first time at Doncaster and then 11lbs for his last win at Doncaster. But he was entitled to go up a fair bit given the form of that last win. This is another step up for him but I think with a bit of luck he can take that step up in his stride. Obviously Western Reserve of Lady Cecil’s must have a decent chance. And Quick Defence ran well at Royal Ascot so he’s a danger also. But if they go a good pace it will take a smart one to beat Oracolo.

In the 2.35pm I ride Taking Libertys for Kevin Ryan. He’s an unbeaten colt. He won at Beverley over 5 furlongs and then at Pontefract over six and now he’s taking another step up to seven furlongs. He needs to step up on form too. Birchwood looks the form horse based on his Newbury win. I also like Hayadh who got beat because of the ground last time. Air Vice Marshal and Ryan must be respected too. It looks an open contest and though my fellow has to step up again Kevin is happy to run him, and his two year olds are running well.

In the Bunbury Cup I ride Horsted Keynes. He’s had a chequered career I suppose. I’ve only ridden him four times and won twice and been second on the other two. I know him quite well. As long as the ground stays fast he’s back on a mark where he should have won at Royal Ascot last year. A horse clipped heels in front of him and basically took him out of the race but he still finished second to Louis The Pious. He’s now 9lbs better off with Louis The Pious. The race has thinned out a bit with Lightning Spear and Speculative Bid not running. David is really happy with him and I’ve seen him a few times in the morning and he does look really well. It was a difficult choice for Jim Crowley to make and hopefully he’s picked wrong and I’m on the right one.

He went to Graham Motion’s and ran in the States last year and then went to Dubai. I saw him in Dubai and he was all hot and bothered in the heat there all the time. So David gave him a nice long break and has then started from scratch again with him. He’s been working really nicely at home and should outrun his odds.

I’m on Astaire in the July Cup. On official ratings he’s got a bit to find with Brazen Beau and Muhaarar but after that he’s right up there with the best of the rest. He ran a career best probably at Royal Ascot last time out. I couldn’t be happier with him and if I can get him to run a similar race he should have a great each way chance again.

As far as my view on Brazen Beau’s run at Royal Ascot is concerned, horses are herd animals really and like to gallop with each-other. If he went on his own and made the running it’s a bit different but when you’re on your own in midfield and the horse can see the other horses over to his right it entices the horse to want to drift towards them. If you watch the video and look at Brazen Beau’s body language you can see for most of the race him wanting to go towards the other horses. He’s on his off fore and he wants to get to them. But Craig had made his decision on where he wanted to go and as a rider you live by the sword and you die by the sword when you make a decision. You can be a hero or a zero very quickly. If he’d won everyone would have said well he walked the track and got it right. It’s a game of small margins.

Compared to if he’d got cover you’d have to suppose it was the difference between him winning and losing. There was supposedly 7lbs between Undrafted and Brazen Beau on the ratings and on the day Brazen Beau was probably a bit unlucky given where he was drawn and the way his race was run. A furlong and a half out is a lonely place at Ascot when you’re on your own.


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