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A July success is on the cards.

Antonius Pius can transform himself from villain to hero in little more than a minute by landing a famous victory in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket tomorrow.

An international cast has been assembled for the Group One race to add extra spice to a slew of high-class home challengers, but nothing makes more appeal than the much-maligned Irish star.

No horse has been vilified more than Antonius Pius this season and he certainly comes with a health warning plastered all over him, but punters will ignore him at their peril because this is a seriously talented individual.

He should be going into this race as a Classic winner because he was home and hosed in the French 2000 Guineas when he careered off into the rails, handing the race on a plate to American Post.

He had already been thrown out of second place on his previous run for an infringement, and his critics were quick to heap more blame on him when he lost the St James' Palace Stakes last time out despite going like a winner in the Ascot straight.

He finished third, beaten a neck and three-quarters of a length by Azamour and Diamond Green, with 2000 Guineas winner Haafhd in fourth, which is mile form right out of the top drawer nevertheless.

That race was run at a fierce pace, but Antonius Pius travelled better than anything until the final furlong and it might just be that this is a brilliant sprinter waiting to happen.

Top-class milers stepping back in distance have a great record over the years, and Antonius Pius can add to it tomorrow, in the process rescuing something from what has been a dire season for the O'Brien team.

If the Ballydoyle artillery has been firing blanks, Godolphin's missiles have rarely missed the target and the boys in blue have another potential star on their hands in the shape of Dubawi.

The first progeny of the mighty Dubai Millennium to see a racecourse, Dubawi was impressive in overturning an odds-on shot to win a hot maiden at Goodwood on his debut, and runner-up Fox - who reopposes tomorrow - franked the form by scoring at Newmarket next time out.

Dubawi is out of an Italian Oaks winner and will surely be seen to better advantage over longer trips, so the step up to seven furlongs for tomorrow's Weatherbys Superlative Stakes should help bring out the best in this promising youngster.

Trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam has lost no time in making his mark since his return from Hong Kong and in Coconut Penang he has a horse to go to war with in decent handicaps.

Coconut Penang was raised only 3lb for that run, which seems generous enough, and he has a first-rate chance off his new mark in the Ladbrokes Bunbury Cup.

The son of Night Shift has never run beyond six furlongs in his entire career, but Chapple-Hyam is convinced he will enjoy seven.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 7, 2004
Words:490
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