If you are lucky enough to get an invite, then The Darley Stallion Parade at Dalham Hall Stud has to be one of the most spoiling events of the year. Now firmly established in the Newmarket July week calendar, two days of parades will have seen more than 1,000 lucky invitees struggling back to their cars having feasted on the most amazing spread of food imaginable. Sheikh Mohammed's generosity to provide such delights can never be taken for granted and this badger annually counts his blessings that he has been included on the guest list. And it is not all about food either. There is a very informative parade of all the Darley stallions, set in magnificent surroundings and beautifully choreographed with an excellent commentary from Nick Luck. While it is always a pleasure to see Dubawi, my interest peaked with the final entrant. Blue Point certainly did not disappoint and it is not difficult to imagine him becoming the lynch-pin in the future Darley stallion roster.
Similarly classy was the Cheveley Park Stud stallion parade and cocktail party earlier in the week, situated just across the road from Dalham Hall Stud in the best-of-England parkland of this historic and traditional stud. How privileged are we to have such beautiful landmarks in Newmarket...with the superstar stallion Pivotal still holding court.
Racing at The July course is like no other racing experience in the world. Stepping back in time to thatched buildings amidst stunning trees and beautifully landscaped public areas, the summer racetrack yet again provided some excellent racing, as well as several record times. This does not imply rock-hard ground, for horses will only let themselves fully stretch when they have the fullest confidence in the turf footing. Four hundred years of undisturbed grassland provides exactly that. It is no surprise to me that the beauty and atmosphere of the July course regularly enables it to surpass its neighbouring Rowley Mile course for numbers of visitors.
Tattersalls July Sales provides three days of selling and always attracts a large cosmopolitan gathering of buyers. Over thirty nations were listed as the destination for purchases and competition was very strong on most lots. This should not be a surprise, for everyone loves coming to a sale where the weather is warm, daylight lasts until way after the fall of hammer on the last lot and importantly there is a wide selection of interest for all buyers. Who would swap this for the cold, short days of the December Sales at the same venue...especially as most of the buyers came from warmer climes. There is a strong case for all breeders and owners to target this sale as vendors. It was my impression that prices were consistently stronger than for similar lots sold later in the year. Why bother to pay a few extra months of keep ( with extra risk ) when the buying bench is so strong in July.
Newmarket in July week needs stamina... but it is one of my favourite times of the year.