Cape crusader primed for July Cup mission

Varian hopeful Byron has ‘more to offer’ despite rise in class

Up to £30 in free bets

Royal Ascot hero Cape Byron will bid to continue his recent progression when making his first start at the top level in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket.

The Roger Varian-trained five-year-old will try Pattern company for just the second time in his career – and first since a Group Three in Dubai last year – in the six-furlong Group One contest on Saturday week.

After landing the Victoria Cup at Ascot on his return to action, the son of Shamardal backed that up at the Berkshire track during the Royal meeting, with an impressive weight-carrying victory in the Wokingham.

Varian said: “He has come out of the Ascot race really well and should he have a clear run then he is sure to be starting in the July Cup.

“We always thought he was a smart horse and before we maybe campaigned him over a bit too far.

“He has had a very good preparation at home this year and is training well, which makes a difference to any horse.”

Reflecting on his Wokingham victory Varian feels the manner of his performance suggests Cape Byron has plenty more to offer.

He said: “I think what was very impressive in the Wokingham is that two furlongs from home, compared to the rest of the field he was travelling so well.

“In a competitive large field like that, under 9st 9lb, to do what he did was a top performance.

“Hopefully his best days are still ahead of him and I think the Wokingham confirmed that.”

Meanwhile, Varian feels Defoe merits his place in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot later this month having followed up his first Group One win in the Coronation Cup at Epsom with victory in the Hardwicke Stakes.

He said: “Defoe is in great form. He had the week off after the race and has started back this week.

“He had run some very good races before this season, winning Group Two and Three races, but he has probably posted two career bests in his last two races.

“The King George is his target and it is exciting to have a horse line up in a race like that – he fully deserves to be there, being a Coronation Cup and Hardwicke winner.”

System.Xml.XmlElement?.InnerText