This year’s renewal of the Arqana July Stakes is shaping up to be an exciting affair and gets underway as the second race on the opening day of this year’s July festival at Newmarket.
John Gosden’s Legends of War, who claimed a visually taking debut win in a Novices’ event at Yarmouth in May, will make a much-anticipated return to the track.
Picked up for the princely sum of 900,000 guineas by his owners, the son of the late Scat Daddy can shave £45,000 of that debt with a win at HQ, having swerved a prior engagement in the Coventry at Newmarket.
As his trainer pointed out after that win, though, his value to them might be squeezed out over the longer term.
“It is Scat Daddy's last crop, he said. “So when you find a good one they will be a collector's item."
He’ll likely be contested for favouritism in the market by one that did take up their engagement in the Coventry at the Royal meeting in the shape of Advertise.
It was a hard-fought renewal of the race, too, and Martyn Meade’s charge was only bested by another regally-bred Gosden runner in Calyx.
Himself a debut winner at Newbury, he’ll have the advantage in experience terms over the Legends of War - of not, perhaps, in class terms.
That pair of exciting juveniles will be joined by the pair of Ballydoyle raiders in Van Beethoven and Northwind.
The former was fourth in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot, he appeared to land the Group 2 Railway Stakes at the Curragh last time.
Northwind is yet to show much on four runs and it’d be a stiff task for him to get involved at the business end of this - he’ll likely be pacesetting for his more illustrious stablemate.
Those four will be joined by Clive Cox’s Koncheck won a maiden over shorter on debut but was midfield in the Norfolk when last seen.
Dunkerron, Charming Kid, Sporting Chance make up the rest of the field.