July Cup

The Group 1 July Cup is the highlight of the racing year on Newmarket’s July course. It is one of the most prestigious sprint races in the calendar and often attracts an International field. The winner of the July Cup can stake a claim to be sprint champion of Europe. Notable past winners include Chief Singer (1984), Ajdal (1987), Royal Academy (1990), Agnes World (2000) and Dream Ahead (2011).

July Cup

The Race

The July Cup takes place over a straight six furlongs on the Newmarket July course on the closing Saturday of the big summer festival. It is the obvious target for horses that ran in the featured sprint races at Royal Ascot; the Commonwealth Cup and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. There can be quite a large field for the July Cup and it is a difficult race to come from too far off the pace. There is no draw bias but you do not want a hold-up horse to be drawn out wide unless it has some horses with early speed to take it into the race.

Famous July Cup Winners & History

The July Cup was first staged in 1876 with the first two runnings won by Springfield, a colt bred by Queen Victoria at her Hampton Court Stud. Sundridge became the first horse to win the race three times when successful in 1902, 1903 and 1904, an achievement that is yet to be matched.

The race was originally classed at Group 2 level in 1971 but was elevated to Group 1 status in 1978. There was a golden age for sprinting in the 1980’s with the likes of Moorestyle (1980), Marwell (1981), Sharpo (1982), Chief Singer (1984) and Ajdal (1987) among those to add their names to the roll of honour.

Chief Singer was a handsome dark colt with a broad white face who burst on to the racing scene with a stunning debut victory in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. He chased home El Gran Senor in the 2000 Guineas and deservedly gained his first Group 1 in the St James’s Palace Stakes. He won by 8 lengths and set a new course record in the process.

Sheather felt that the colt had so much speed that he could take on the best sprinters in the July Cup. He was fully vindicated with a victory over a strong field that included previous winners Never So Bold and Habibti.

Ajdal was even more versatile, a son of Northern Dancer trained by Sir Michael Stoute. His previous start had been in the Epsom Derby over a mile and a half. He had been a brilliant two-year-old and won the Craven Stakes on his first start as a three-year-old before suffering defeat in both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas.

The July Cup has continued to produce sprinters of the highest class. Royal Academy (1990) was the fifth and final winner in the race for Trainer Vincent O’Brien. He was ridden by John Reid at Newmarket but would go on to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile, famously ridden by an out-of-retirement Lester Piggott. Piggott won this race for a record tenth and final time on Mr Brooks in 1992.

Key July Cup Trials

Six of the last twelve July Cup winners last ran at Royal Ascot in either the Diamond Jubilee Stakes or the Commonwealth Cup. Starspangledbanner (2010), Lethal Force (2013) and Slade Power (2014) all won the Diamond Jubilee before winning here. Muhaarar (2015) completed the Commonwealth Cup/July Cup double but the next five winners of that race were all beaten at Newmarket. It has been a similar story for winners of the King’s Stand Stakes (five furlongs) with all four winners beaten here in the last twelve seasons.

July Cup Betting Trends

Favourites have a poor record in the July Cup with only five winners in the past twenty years. Three of those came in quick succession: Sole Power (2014), Muhaarar (2015) and Limato (2016). The only other two to prevail were Marchand d’Or (2008) and Starspangledbanner (2010).

The longest priced July Cup winner in recent years was Pastoral Pursuits (2005) at 22-1 while Mayson revelled in the soft ground to spring a 20-1 surprise in 2012. Frizzante (2004) won at 14-1, Continent (2002), Fleeting Spirit (2009) and Oxted (2020) all returned at 12-1.

July Cup Odds

Here are the latest odds for the July Cup in July 2023:

  • These odds have not yet been released.

July Cup Tips

Here are some tips for July Cup in July 2023:

2 points to win for TBC at odds of TBC
1 point each way for TBC at odds of TBC

Several of the horses competing in the July Cup will also compete in other races throughout the year. Keep a close eye on the horses and place your ante-post bets after you’ve seen how they perform.

July Cup 2022 Result

July Cup Previous Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer
2013 Lethal Force 4 Adam Kirby Clive Cox
2014 Slade Power 5 Wayne Lordan Edward Lynam
2015 Muhaarar 3 Paul Hanagan Charlie Hills
2016 Limato 4 Harry Bentley Henry Candy
2017 Harry Angel 3 Adam Kirby Clive Cox
2018 U S Navy Flag 3 Ryan Moore Aidan O’Brien
2019 Ten Sovereigns 3 Ryan Moore Aidan O’Brien
2020 Oxted 4 Cieren Fallon Roger Teal
2021 Starman 4 Tom Marquand Ed Walker
2022 Alcohol Free 4 Rob Hornby Andrew Balding

July Cup Stats

Thirteen of the last fourteen July Cup winners were aged three or four. The exception was the five-year-old Slade Power in 2014. Les Arcs won at the age of six in 2006, the oldest winner since the year older Shalfleet way back in 1938.

Five of the last twelve winners had a previous success at Newmarket and all of them had at least one victory in a Group 1 to Group 3 contest. An official rating of at least 112 is usually required to win the July Cup. The highest rated winner in recent seasons was Dream Ahead (rated 126) in 2011. Dream Ahead was ridden by Hayley Turner who became the first woman to ride the outright winner of a British Group 1 flat race.

Top Trainers and Jockeys

Aidan O’Brien equalled the July Cup record of five winners when Ten Sovereigns won in 2019. He currently shares the record with Charles Morton and Vincent O’Brien. Clive Cox has saddled two July Cup winners with Lethal Force (2013) and Harry Angel (2017).

Nobody has come close to threatening Lester Piggott’s record ten victories in this race. His wins include four successive victories from 1957 to 1960. Ryan Moore rode U S Navy Flag (2018) and Ten Sovereigns (2019) to victory while Paul Hanagan also has two victories; Mayson (2012) and Muhaarar (2015).

Betting on the July Cup

There is a strong ante-post market on the July Cup which really takes shape in the aftermath of Royal Ascot. The winners of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the Commonwealth Cup tend to dominate the betting. History shows that horses with winning form in Group races consistently come out on top here so horses stepping up in grade from handicaps or listed class should be treated with caution.

Popular Questions

Who won the July Cup 2021?

Starman, aged 4, was the winner of the July Cup in 2021.

Where is the July Cup run?

The July Cup is run at Newmarket Racecourse.

What distance is the July Cup?

The July Cup has a total distance of 6 furlongs (1,207 metres).

Summary

The July Cup takes place in the relaxed atmosphere of the July course at Newmarket and is one of the sprint highlights of the season. Royal Ascot form is put to the test here with the fastest three-year-olds taking on their elders.

As the Co-Founder of British Racecourses, I love the chance to share my enjoyment of racing with others. As a family, we have always loved the racing and went to Haydock races as kids, as often as we could. We are now lucky enough to own some fantastic racehorses who we will follow around the tracks and we have had some great wins. As part of British Racecourses, I enjoy visiting and reviewing the racecourses that we visit, all of which I think have something to offer and are brilliant in their own ways.