Welcome to the ultimate Newmarket July Festival betting guide! The Moet & Chandon Newmarket July Festival is the most prestigious meeting held on Newmarket's July Course and runs for three days starting on the second Thursday of the month. The highlight is the Group 1 July Cup on the Saturday which was won last year by Aidan O'Brien's US Navy Flag.
For many years, it was held from Tuesday to Thursday but switched to Wednesday to Friday in 2005 before moving to its current timeslot in 2011. The other Group 1 of the week is the Falmouth Stakes for fillies and mares on the Friday, but there is a host of quality action including a real puzzle for horse racing betting fans, the Bunbury Cup.
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The July Cup is the only race which has a long-term ante-post market although the Falmouth and the Bunbury Cup will be priced up a couple of weeks ahead of the festival.
The big sprints throughout the season will prompt changes in the July Cup betting, but the biggest effect will stem from two six-furlong races at Royal Ascot – the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the Commonwealth Cup. The latter, for three-year-olds only, was first run in 2015 and has become a solid guide to the July Cup with the Classic generation barred from the Diamond Jubilee.
The Commonwealth Cup's first winner, Muhaarar trained by Charlie Hills, followed up in the July Cup on his first clash with older horses. After winning the 2016 Commonwealth Cup, Karl Burke's filly Quiet Reflection was third in the July Cup.
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The July Cup is the big race and the big betting race of the festival. It usually attracts more than 10 runners and, despite it being a stakes races, some horse racing bookies will go each-way a quarter of the odds on the day.
On the betting front, the Bunbury Cup is usually next in punters' thoughts. Run two races before the July Cup over seven furlongs, this is an ultra-competitive handicap for horses aged three years and over. There are usually 16 runners or more so bookies will pay out each-way on the first four places and look out for those offering a bonus place. There is also the Silver Bunbury Cup, for horses who miss the cut for the big one, on the Friday.
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Tickets are still available for all three days on the Jockey Club site but Ladies Day, with Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw playing a DJ set after racing, is likely to sell out.
The Garden Enclosure, further from the winning post, offers the cheapest tickets at £16 apiece. Next up is the Grandstand and Paddock Enclosure which is £31 on Ladies Day, £28 on Feel Good Friday and back to £31 on July Cup Day.
The most expensive non-hospitality tickets are in the Premier Enclosure which are £52 on Ladies Day, £44 on Feel Good Friday and £48 on July Cup Day. Group discounts are available on each day, and under-18s are free to enter any enclosure on July Cup Day with additional free entertainment and activities in the Garden Enclosure.
Hospitality prices range from £125 for the Champions Lawn and Picnic Package through to £480 for the Moet & Chandon Trackside Pavilion Dining Experience.
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Thursday 11th July – Ladies Day
Friday 12th July – Feel Good Friday
Saturday 13th July – Darley July Cup Day
"Diarmuid is a published horse racing journalist and creator of the #racehour twitter community which produces a weekly podcast and a home for all things horse racing throughout the flat and jumps season across the UK and Ireland."