Caravaggio set to brush aside rivals in Darley July Cup at Newmarket

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Aidan O’Brien said Caravaggio is the fastest horse he has trained.

Horse Talk with Simon Jackson: Top horse-racing tips and the latest news

CARAVAGGIO is taken to extend his unbeaten run to seven races when he contests the Darley July Cup Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday where he heads a maximum field of 10 runners.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt is priced at 11/10 for the six furlong contest after producing a terrific display to win the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot last month.

The manner of the success impressed bookmakers, one of whom admits he is giving them a headache ahead of Saturday’s race as punters continue to support the three-year-old.

Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “While punters are scratching around for alternatives to Caravaggio, we’re sure that he, as many people’s banker, will be the best backed horse of the week come Saturday and on what is one of the busiest days of the year, he’ll definitely be the bookies’ biggest headache.”

At Ascot Caravaggio was settled in mid-field before being set alight by Ryan Moore. He stayed on well in the closing stages to head Harry Angel and Blue Point to score by three quarters of a length to provide the 58th Royal Ascot winner for O’Brien and the 46th for Moore.

“I think that was a fairly exceptional race and he beat two very good horses,” Moore said at Ascot. “There’s quite a headwind and it has been hard to make up ground today and yesterday. They made him work, but he picked them up well in the end.

“I think it was a very good race, they are two very good colts who were leading him. Caravaggio was very good here, it is the first time he has ever been asked a serious question so he was a bit unsure when he got the message, but he’s responded very well. I think there is some more improvement in him.

“I had two very good horses in front of me and they weren’t stopping. It was a very good performance and these horses have a serious amount of talent. He is a very, very good colt and that was a very good race.

“He reared in the stalls before the starter let them go, but soon got into a good rhythm.”

O’Brien added: “He was just ready for his next step today.

“The lads have a plan in their mind that he might go to Australia for the Everest (Group 1 at Randwick in mid-October), so we have to be very conscious now if we want him to last for the autumn.

“I was very nervous today as he was just ready to come through today, so I’m delighted that it all went well.

“Ryan was super confident on him and put him to sleep in the race. He said he would have a look at halfway where everybody was and that is what he did.

“He had plenty to do at halfway behind two good horses and he only raced for two and a half-furlongs.

“He was very relaxed in himself before the race – he was very natural and there was no edge to him. He is a natural free sweater anyway, but I was surprised by how cool he was –  he is a very calm horse.

“He is very quick, I would be happier at two furlongs than six furlongs with this fella. He is the fastest horse we have ever had.

“He’s an absolutely brilliant horse. We felt that, because it was his second run back, we were afraid to do too much because we didn’t want to lose that brilliance that he has.

“Ryan gave him a brilliant ride and his change of pace is unbelievable. He is just an unbelievably quick horse.”

Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.

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