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July Cup next for Royal Ascot hero Advertise as Meade eyes sprint title

Martyn Meade is hoping Advertise can capitalise on the retirement of Blue Point and add the Darley July Cup at Newmarket next month to his CV.

A winner of the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes as a juvenile, Advertise disappointed in the 2,000 Guineas on his seasonal reappearance but relished the return to sprinting when landing the Commonwealth Cup in stylish fashion at Royal Ascot last week.

Advertise winning the Commonwealth Cup, photo Liesl King

The Phoenix Thoroughbred-owned sprinter has reportedly come out of the Commonwealth Cup well and is on target for the July Cup, for which he is a best price 5-1.

Meade said on Monday: "He's in very good order. It didn't seem too hard a race for him and I'm pleased with the way he's come back. I think with Blue Point retiring we'd have to consider the July Cup pretty seriously."

Last season Advertise landed the Group 2 July Stakes over the same course and distance as next month's target, which only serves to bolster Meade's confidence.

Meade added: "He won the July Stakes last year so it's pretty natural to go back. The way he did it at Ascot was pretty convincing and he'll have a nice break before then.

"I think he stayed the stiff six [furlongs, at Ascot] very well, there was no question of him stopping. He's already won at the July course and he'll cope with the ground and the stiffish track suits him pretty well – it's a case of what has he got to beat."

Also prominent in the betting for the July Cup is progressive Wokingham winner Cape Byron, who was racing over six furlongs for the first time at Ascot and has been cut to 8-1 (from 12) for the Group 1 sprint.

Trainer Roger Varian said on Monday: "I'm away for a few days and so I haven't seen Cape Byron since Saturday, but he was fine after the Wokingham and when I spoke to [owner] Sheikh Mohammed Obaid immediately after the race he was happy with the idea of going for the July Cup, so long as all is well still. The July Cup is on the cards, but it's not set in stone."

Meade's team was strengthened on Monday with the news Australian sprinter Houtzen will join the yard and be aimed at the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on August 2.

The four-year-old, who finished eighth behind Blue Point in the King's Stand Stakes last week after stumbling at the start, will be covered by Lope De Vega after her racing career finishes.

Meade said: "We will let her settle in and assess how she is. The King George at Goodwood is certainly a possibility, that would be an obvious first port of call.

"She was unfortunate at Ascot and you can't really recover from that sort of mistake but she didn't run that badly. I am very pleased to have her and she is an exciting horse to have in the yard."

At Goodwood Houtzen is likely to meet King's Stand runner-up Battaash, who is seeking a hat-trick in the five-furlong contest.

Connections will be hoping Houtzen can emulate her compatriot  Ortensia, who won at Goodwood – and also the Nunthorpe at York – after being beaten in the King's Stand.

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