Caravaggio to prove himself the best of the generations at July Cup
Caravaggio hopes to make the transition from talented apprentice to budding old master in a stellar renewal of the Darley July Cup at Newmarket, writes James Toney.
Aidan O'Brien's three-year-old superstar blew away opposition to win the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and steps up to clash with older horses for the first time.
Clive Cox's Harry Angel - who Caravaggio chased down so brilliantly at Ascot - is looking for revenge while James Fanshawe's Diamond Jubilee Stakes winner The Tin Man makes his Newmarket debut in a classy ten-strong field.
Last year's winner Limato is back after a disappointing run at Ascot while the William Haggas-trained Tasleet is another smart contender.
But O'Brien - who has won the race, part of the Qipco British Champions Series, on two previous occasions - has no worries his unbeaten star can make it win number seven.
However, there are some concerns. Caravaggio still looks like his optimum trip may be further than six furlongs and Newmarket is a quicker track than Ascot and could play into the hands of the out and out speedsters, such as Harry Angel.
O'Brien seems determined to keep his charge - rated the fastest horse he's ever trained - running over 1200m, with the new six million pound Everest Stakes in Australia, the richest turf race in the world, his ultimate target in October.
"He seems to be fine," he insisted. "He hasn't done a lot since Ascot but seems to be in good form and we've been happy with him since."
Cox's charge looks the best challenger but the Godolphin runner, a dual group two winner, will certainly need to step up from his performance at the royal meeting against a horse that looks every inch the real deal.
"We came out of Royal Ascot believing it was better than any race he had run in before," he said.
"He is fresh and well and the ground is ideal. You need to give total respect to the opposition but I still think very highly of our fellow. Hopefully there is still more to come."
O'Brien is looking for his ninth Champions Series win of the season after Roly Poly landed the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket.
Ryan Moore took total control of the race and always looked to have the better of nearest challenger Wuheida, who looked a class prospect when winning the Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly last year.
"It's been a good day at the office and she clearly loves the good to firm ground," said owner Michael Tabor.
"That was pretty straight forward actually, though I know it's easy to say afterwards. Ryan said in the paddock that he thought it would be best to take her to the front and he did, sheâ€™s a good filly.
"Sheâ€™s had some near misses but she's tough and hardy. She's small but she battles well and this ground really suits her well, so we couldn't be more pleased."