Updated: Jul 26
For festivals arranged in mid-summer, it's with cruel regularity the heavens open. On Day Two at HQ, the sky poured not warm sunshine, but drenching rain, leaving carefully curated outfits sodden dishcloths, and Pimms an unwelcome order. Up the July Course, though, swam Nashwa and Hollie Doyle. Named in honour of the 6th Viscount Falmouth, conditions felt the 2023 Falmouth Stakes would be equally suited if run in Cornwall's Falmouth Bay, 340 miles to the south.
But for a partnership that saw Doyle become the first female winner of French Classic, raindrops weren't going to empty the winners enclosure. A Prix du Jockey Club, a Nassau, and now a third Group One success, just two weeks after a disappointing Newcastle defeat. "I think she has proven to be extremely versatile," Doyle smiled, acknowledging the pair's doubters, "you can ride her anywhere now".
On Day One, conversely, to the sounds of the Tattersalls July Sales hammer, the heath was bathing in cool sunshine. Thursday belonged to our ambassador, Jim Crowley, who celebrated his 45th birthday a day later. In the Shadwell colours, Israr took the lead with 1/2 furlong left to travel, leaving an already panicking Buick beat aboard 2021 Derby and King George VI winning Adayar. Here was a notably cast down Godolphin brigade post race, though with Appleby keen to stress options still await this hardworking five-year-old.
It was City Of Troy who departed the standout performer on Day Three, as the nation tuned in for a 'Super Saturday' on ITV: the two-year-old taking the Superlative by 6 1/2 lengths. But that was before Newmarket had saved its best until last, with the week's feature going off at 4:35pm. Watching the start, and Shaquille's characteristic bunny hop, you'd be certain he'd blown it. Not so, as Shaquille soon felt entitled to move up with Art Power in front. As he held on, cue uncharacteristic jubilation from Julie Camacho, the Yorkshire trainer of just 65 horses who, fresh from G1 success in the Commonwealth Cup, saw off Coolmore again in the July Cup. Victory, to the underdog, is so often served sweet.