Coral-Eclipse, July Cup and King George: the Flat summer highlights to savor | Horse Racing News

Edward Whittaker

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Enable: won the Coral-Eclipse in 2019

Enable: won the Coral-Eclipse in 2019

Edward Whittaker

By Catherine Macrae

The Derby and Royal Ascot have now passed and the core of the Flat season is upon us – here we look at the big highlights to come in the next month.

Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby
The Curragh, June 25

The Irish Classic takes place a week on from Royal Ascot and featured the breakthrough Group 1 success for Hurricane Lane last year, who went on to claim a hat-trick of top-level successes. Westover will bid to emulate Hurricane Lane by landing the Irish Derby less than a month after finishing third at Epsom. Oaks winner Tuesday will lead a strong hand for Aidan O’Brien, who has claimed five wins in the past decade.

Sandown, July 2

With an illustrious recent roll of honor including Enable, Golden Horn and Nathaniel, the Coral-Eclipse is the highlight of the Sandown Flat season. St Mark’s Basilica won the race last year to follow up his Prix du Jockey Club success and Vadeni will bid to repeat the feat after connections confirmed they would supplement the French colt for the Group 1 contest. With Bay Bridge, Native Trail, Mishriff and Alenquer among possible runners, this year’s contest looks sure to live up to expectations.

Moet & Chandon July Festival
Newmarket, 7-9 July

The three-day Newmarket meeting features a rich offering of Flat racing. Thursday’s opening card is headed by the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Stakes, before Ladies’ Day gets under way with the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes. Friday’s card also includes the Falmouth Stakes, claimed last year by Snow Lantern. The meeting concludes with a blockbuster Saturday card led by the Darley July Cup, one of Britain’s most prestigious sprints.

Paris Grand Prix
Longchamp, July 14

Open to three-year-old colts and fillies, the Grand Prix de Paris has gone the way of international raiders in recent years. Aidan O’Brien bagged a hat-trick between 2018 and 2020 before Hurricane Lane followed up on his Irish Derby success last year with an impressive six-length win 12 months ago. It is likely the top yards will send over high-profile runners in a bid to land the prize once more.

Patrick McCann

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Hurricane Lane: won the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris last summer

Hurricane Lane: won the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris last summer

Patrick McCann

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes
Ascot, July 23

Another jewel in the British Flat season calendar, this year’s King George could be one of the races of the year. Won last year by Derby hero Adayar, the Ascot contest could see the return of the Godolphin star, who has yet to be seen since October. It could also feature this year’s Epsom star Desert Crown, leading to a tantalizing showdown between the last two Derby winners. Should both show up next month, it will no doubt be a contest to savor for all racing fans.

Qatar Goodwood Festival
Goodwood, July 26-30

The Goodwood Cup is the highlight on day one of Glorious Goodwood and star stayer Stradivarius will bid for a record-extending fifth victory in the race. The Sussex Stakes and Nassau Stakes are other Group 1 highlights through the meeting, while Saturday’s Stewards’ Cup is one of the biggest betting races of the summer.


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