Godolphin’s Naval Crown and Creative Force lock horns again on Saturday in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket with the pair expected to replicate their one-two finish at last month’s Royal Ascot meeting.
Naval Crown prevailed over Creative Force by a neck in that Group 1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes. Trainer Charlie Appleby’s first choice jockey William Buick has kept faith on the latter, however, hoping to reverse that result.
“They have come out of Ascot in good shape and the plan is to run both again in the July Cup, where they will carry excellent credentials into an historic race, which has been won by some outstanding sprinters down the years,” Appleby told godolphin.com.
“Creative Force has had experience of the track and the race, which are important factors in his favour.
“Last year he had dropped back in distance after winning the Group 2 Jersey Stakes, over seven furlongs at Royal Ascot, and it was his first taste of sprinting at the top level.
“This time he is more seasoned and comes to the July Cup off the back of a great second in one of the most competitive Group 1 sprints seen for some time.”
Appleby was also upbeat about Naval Crown's chances where James Doyle retains the ride.
“He is a class horse, who finished fourth in the 2000 Guineas last season, while this time in, he has produced the best performance of his career,” the trainer said of the four-year-old Dubawi colt.
“He’s still a junior in the sprinting ranks but one with the potential to progress even higher in the rankings.”
One of the main challengers to the Godolphin pair over the six-furlong sprint is Dubai’s Sheikh Rashid Dalmook’s Perfect Power.
The three-year-old has won six of his eight career starts, including three Group 1 prizes which included an impressive win in the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot last month.
Meanwhile, Godolphin’s Nations Pride goes into the Group 1 Belmont Derby Invitational in New York on the same day.
The three-year-old, who finished eighth in the Group 1 Derby at Epsom, shipped well and has settled in to his new environment, Appleby said.
“He didn’t stay the mile-and-a-half of the Derby, it’s as simple as that,” he said of the Teofilo colt where Frankie Dettori is booked for the ride.
“We know he’s got plenty of class. He showed that when winning the Listed Newmarket Stakes by seven lengths in the spring, beating the colt [Hoo Ya Mal], who was runner-up in the Derby.
“Dropping back to a mile-and-a-quarter on a sound surface, he is going to be much better suited. A repeat of his Newmarket Stakes win would make him very competitive.”
Dettori will also be aboard Godolphin’s With The Moonlight in the Group 1 Belmont Oaks, who like Nations Pride attempts to put behind her a disappointing run in a Classic at Epsom.
“My comments about With The Moonlight are similar to what I said about Nations Pride,” Appleby added.
“She didn’t stay the trip at Epsom [in the Oaks] and she will be better suited dropping back to 10 furlongs on fast ground.”