There’s just two weeks to go to now until “Glorious Goodwood” but in the meantime there are still plenty of high profile flat races to be run in both the UK and Ireland.

Let’s take a look at some of the ante-post markets you can get stuck into in the next couple of weeks:


Saturday 21st July: Darley Irish Oaks (Curragh)

William Haggas will step Sea Of Class up in trip for the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

Following discussions with the owners, the Newmarket based trainer has been preparing the dual Newbury Listed winner for a first try over 12 furlongs in the Group One prize.

The daughter of Sea The Stars continued her build up for the forthcoming Irish raid with a racecourse gallop over a mile at Newmarket’s July Course last Thursday morning.

Sea Of Class is a 7/2 chance with us here at 888sport.

The Aidan O’Brien trained September (12/1) could make a belated reappearance in the Irish Oaks after recovering from the muscle problem that kept her out of the British version.

O'Brien's team for the Irish Oaks, a race he has won five times, includes Forever Together (6/1) – the winner of  the Oaks at Epsom and Magic Wand (5/2), the four-length winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.


Sunday 22nd July: Kilboy Estate Stakes (Curragh)

Jessica Harrington’s ever growing impact on flat racing’s top fixtures was in evidence again when I’m So Fancy successfully dropped back to a mile and landed the Listed Celebration Stakes at the Curragh.

After the race, Harrington said: “She’s in the Group Two Kilboy Estate Stakes here over a mile and a quarter so we’ll see how she comes out of this.”


Sunday 22nd July: Sapphire Stakes (Curragh)

The Elite Racing Club owned Judicial could head to the Curragh as he goes in pursuit of a first Group-race victory.

The six-year-old gelding finished runner-up in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket in early May. Then at Beverley he won a strong conditions stakes by two and a quarter lengths.

The Coral Charge at Sandown is another option for Judicial - a half-brother to the top sprinter Marsha - but he could also end up running in the Sapphire Stakes.

Julie Camacho's assistant and husband, said: "He's more relaxed this year and he's clearly improving.

"He's easier to ride this year and we now know a lot more about him.

"We'll look at the Coral sprint at Sandown and he's also entered in the Sapphire Stakes in Ireland.


Saturday 28th July: King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Ascot)

The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO) was first run in 1951. The mile and a half contest quickly established itself as one of the most prestigious middle distance events in the world and regularly attracts the best horses from far and wide. It is the second richest race on the British racing calendar, with a prize fund of £1,250,000.

Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud victor Waldgeist (9/1) could well be sent across the Channel to contest this feature race by the French training maestro, Andre Fabre.

The colt claimed his third win of the season and provided his trainer with an eighth Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud success when edging out John Gosden’s filly Coronet by a nose.

Sir Michael Stoute is preparing both Crystal Ocean and Poet's Word for the Ascot prize.

Crystal Ocean carded his third victory of the season with a dominant display in the Hardwicke Stakes at last month's Royal meeting, while Poet's Word took the scalp of Cracksman when recording a Group One success in the Prince of Wales's Stakes.

Stoute shares a joint-record of five previous winners of the King George in Shergar (1981), Opera House (1993), Golan (2002), Conduit (2009) and Harbinger (2010) and looks intent on taking that record outright in 2018.

Speaking of his two challengers, Stoute said: "They are both fine at the moment. They are being trained for the King George and the plan is to go to Ascot with both horses," said the Newmarket-based trainer.

Crystal Ocean is 888sport’s 2/1 favourite for the Ascot showpiece with Poet's Word marginally behind him at 5/2.

The consistent four-year-old Salouen (20/1) who ran Cracksman to a head in the Coronation Cup at Epsom and followed that up with a close third place behind Waldgeist in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, also heads to Ascot.

His trainer Sylvester Kirk has no qualms about taking on the best opposition once again, saying:

“He’s very good. It’s the King George next,” said the Lambourn handler.

“The thing I worry about is not letting the horse get his head in front.

“There’s no guarantee he’s going to go and win a Group Three yet.

“We’ll go off and go to Ascot. He’s in great form. As for his stallion potential, it’s not that he’s risking anything by running in the top grade all the time.”

Kew Gardens’ Grand Prix de Paris victory on Saturday gave him the likely option of running in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot according to Aidan O’Brien. Kew Gardens is prominent in the market at 6/1.


Saturday 28th July: Gigaset International Stakes (Ascot)

Royal Hunt Cup fifth Flaming Spear (12/1) is on target for Ascot’s International Stakes which takes place on the same afternoon as the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Formerly trained by Kevin Ryan, the six-year-old is no stranger to winning big race handicaps as his win at York in August last showed testament to that.

The John Gosden-trained II Primo Sole (12/1) was a decent fifth in the Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap) at Royal Ascot and is another runner who should be on the premises again in this Heritage race.


*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*

About the Author
Steve Mullington

Steven is a sports and horseracing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.

He is a regular visitor to Paris Longchamp for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a lifelong fan of the Aintree Grand National, a subject he writes about 52 weeks of the year. Last year he reached the impressive milestone of attending the last 25 renewals of the Grand National. 

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