07/11/2013 3:54PM

Europe: Lethal Force faces familiar foes in July Cup


There is Group 1 action on both sides of the English Channel on Saturday in the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp and the July Cup at Newmarket.

The July Cup, run down a six-furlong straightaway, is among the top sprint races in England. A field of 12 was entered, including the top three finishers – Lethal Force, Society Rock, and Krypton Factor – from the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the Royal Ascot meet.

The 4-year-old Lethal Force scored a convincing two-length win in the Diamond Jubilee over firm, fast-playing ground of the sort he’s likely to find again Saturday. Trained by Clive Cox and ridden by Adam Kirby, Lethal Force always has run well on fast ground and should be formidable again in the July Cup.

Also in the field is Shea Shea, the South African sprint star of the Dubai World Cup Carnival who finished a close second in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Trainer Andre Fabre has three of the eight 3-year-olds entered in the 1 1/2-mile Grand Prix de Paris, and Ocovango looks like the best of them. Ocovango won his only start at 2 and his first two races this year before finishing a very troubled fifth of 12 in the Epsom Derby.

The Fabre-trained Flintshire also merits attention, having captured the 12-furlong, Group 3 Prix du Lys Longines at Chantilly last month in his group stakes debut.

Universal wins at Newmarket

On Thursday at Newmarket, Universal won his second Group 2 stakes of the season in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket. Leading throughout the 1 1/2-mile race under jockey Joe Fanning, Universal came home two lengths the best, with the Godolphin pair of Azeemah and Cavalryman second and third.

Trained by Mark Johnston for owner Abdulla al Mansoori, the 4-year-old Universal, a son of Dubawi, is considered a likely runner in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, where he would be a longshot.

In Thursday’s other Group 2 race at Newmarket, Anjaal captured the July Stakes for 2-year-olds, beating Figure of Speech by a neck.