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Article 15th July 2023 Newmarket

By Graham Clark & Nick Seddon

Shaquille (5-2 Joint Favourite) won the second Group One race of his career when recording a stunning victory in today’s Pertemps Network July Cup (6f), the highlight of the Boodles July Festival at Newmarket. 

As with his previous Group One win in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot last month, the three year old Charm Spirit colt conceded ground at the start after jumping up and emerging slowly from the stalls.  

Racing keenly, jockey Rossa Ryan let Shaquille go to the front at the halfway point and from then on the result was not in any doubt as he galloped on relentlessly.

At the finish Shaquille, who was homebred by his joint-owner Martin Hughes, had a length and a half to spare over Run To Freedom (28-1) with Kinross (4-1) another short-head away in third.    

It was a first Group One victory for Rossa Ryan while trainer Julie Camacho became only the second female to saddle a July Cup winner after Criquette Head-Maarek, successful with Anabaa in 1996. Camacho also becomes the first trainer to earn more than £1 million in prize money on the Flat.

Julie Camacho said: “It does upset me that everyone thinks he is the big ignorant thug, which he shows at the races and in everyday life he is an absolute darling. He is a darling to do anything with. I’m a bit overwhelmed really. I thought it is a long way home (when Rossa Ryan made that mid race move), those were my thoughts.

“It did (turn out to be a smart move) there is no point pulling them about. I know he discussed the horse with James (Doyle) and he knew what to do with him. It is a massive moment. We are a small yard in the north. I said to a friend before Ascot, we come down here we think we have got nice horses, they give us a bang on the nose and tell us to go back up north where we belong. It is lovely to be able to come down here with a horse like him and show how good he is.

“It is not as if it (breaking through £1 million in prize money) is an overnight success as we have been at it a long time. It is nice that people in the north can have a bit of success as there are some really good trainers in the north. If we get the ammunition, we can do well with them. I’d say Haydock (Sprint Cup will probably be next). We will put him in at Deauville. Steve (Brown, partner) will discuss it with Martin (Hughes, joint owner). I’m only a very small part of it and Steve plays a bigger part than I do. It is great for Martin as he has put a lot into the business and racing full stop as he has got a lot of horses in training across quite a few trainers and it is great for him to have bred him as well and that is the icing on the cake as well.

“He came on pretty keen, and he did at Ascot, which isn’t ideal, but I just wish he would do everything right. I suppose we are having beaten the older horses so it is probably (better than the Ascot win). We were confident that the horse was fit and well and he was in good form, but we were taking on the older horses.”

Steve Brown, Camacho’s husband and assistant trainer, said: “I think we will stick to six for now but five (furlongs) is something we could do in the future, but we will speak to Martin. These are really nice chats to have. He is in the Sprint Cup at Haydock Park and that was going to be the natural next step for him.

“You have to remember this horse has been training quite early in the winter to get him ready for the All-Weather Championships Final. At some point I wouldn’t mind having a couple of quiet weeks as he is still a baby, for all he is a talented one. We will have a chat over a cup of tea and see what the owners want to do.

“It is a great question (if he stays in training at four) and it hasn’t been discussed. We left it to Martin and his directive was let’s enjoy the race and we will have a chat further down the line. We are just enjoying the ride.

“We are not social animals - we just work hard. Some days are great like this, and some are disappointing. We will have tomorrow off and be back in the yard at 4.30am on Monday morning. It has been a great day for the yard.”

Rossa Ryan said: “Everything I’ve worked for in life has been for this. I don’t really know what to say. I could see something coming out the corner of my eye and I thought please don’t do this to me (catch me on the line). I couldn’t believe it. I pulled up down the bottom and stood still and I had to take a moment to take it all in. It is something else.

“He didn’t jump great. They didn’t go mad the first furlong which gave me a chance. I thought I could ease him into it and sit in behind. I spent about four strides in behind and that was it. To be fair to him when he did his own thing and got over and went past Art Power at the three pole he filled himself up. I could feel him underneath me. Everyone had to catch on to me as we were going a good tempo. When I gave him the office two out he sprinted to the line and there was no stopping him. He is just a very good horse.

“Nine times out ten (when you make that mid race move) it is a disaster. He has just got a lot of ability that is the long and the short of it. I was relieved three out when he did fill his lungs. When he put his head in front of Art Power he relaxed more I thought I could get him back more and fill him up. After that it was up to him. He has that much ability, if he did the racing the right way round you would be speaking of him as a champion and miles ahead of everything else. He is so consistent and to be only beaten once in seven runs is something else. Julie and the team do some job with him.

“From just outside the two pole I dropped my hands and let him build into it. James Doyle did say to me the best two furlongs will be his last two and he said he will stay and don’t worry about the ground. When I filled him up I wasn’t too afraid and to be fair to Steve (Brown) he assured me the last two furlongs will be the best two.

“I didn’t (expect to get the call to ride him), but to get the call you have only got to be happy. You want to be in the Group Ones, but it is one thing getting into them, and it is another thing having a right chance, and it is another thing on top of that to win. It is a monkey of my back now. I’m just relieved and thrilled to be honest.”

Rossa Ryan earlier told ITV Racing: “That was the thrill of my life. The way he jumped…I know he did the exact same at Ascot but in Ascot Oisin (Murphy) was covered up and was able to relax whereas today I was out in daylight.

“We weren’t even going that fast and I just kept holding on to him. Three out, I could feel him fill his lungs. Steve said to me his last two furlongs are his best two and when he hit the hill he kept going.

“I have to give a big up to James Doyle and Oisin Murphy – I spoke to them both this morning and they filled me with confidence, especially James. It’s incredible to fill in.

“To Mr Hughes and all the owners to have the faith in me to break my Group One duck was unbelievable. Mr Hughes is a pleasure to work with.”

Henry Candy, trainer of runner-up Run To Freedom, said: “He’s a very able horse and we knew he could do that, he showed it at Salisbury and when second behind Kinross in the Champions Sprint last year. You can never quite rely on him, which is why he starts at these ridiculous prices, but the ability is there.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he was able to win one before the end of the year. We’ll go to Haydock and we’ll go to Ascot in October.”

Trevor Whelan, rider of Run To Freedom, said: “It was a good run and he ran a blinder to be fair. I think the winner is something special so he’s done really well.”

Ralph Beckett, trainer of third-placed Kinross (4-1), said: “I’m delighted with him. It’s a shame we didn’t get second but that’s life and Run To Freedom is a very good horse. I’m really pleased, it’s a shade on the easy side for him going six here. He’ll go to Goodwood and then probably York and Longchamp and then Ascot.”

The Pertemps Network July Cup is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.


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