As the field thundered up the incline of the final furlong of Newmarket’s July Course it looked like the watching crowds were about to witness a big upset in the day’s feature.
The 25/1 shot Tropics battled gamely and was just inches away from landing the Darley July Cup, only for co-favourite Muhaarar to snatch victory by a nose at the death.
While the winner looks a champion sprinter in the making, it was a second-straight runners-up spot in the contest for the seven-year-old Tropics.
Dean Ivory had big plans for his stable star after the race, having expressed delight at how he ran.
“He travelled so strongly, but it wasn’t the ideal ground for him. We’ll keep him going and hopefully get that Group One on the board,” the Radlett trainer said following the defeat.
The likes of the Sprint Cup at Haydock and the 5f contest on Champions Day at Ascot in October could see a rematch with Charlie Hills’ three-year-old, but it is a big handicap that has seen market movement for the son of Speightstown.
Having been a 25/1 shot for the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood prior to his run at HQ, Tropics was cut into 12/1 joint-favouritism for the 6f sprint on August 1.
He was sixth in the contest two years ago on his only previous visit to the Sussex course, though that was off a mark 7lbs lower than the one he will be saddled with should he take his chance again.
One could argue though, that the Group 3 winner has come on leaps and bounds in the following 24 months and could well defy top-weight.
He will have to give at least 4lb to everything else in the field, and faces a stiff ask if the record of previous top-rated horses is anything to go by.
Only Hoof It in 2011 has carried top-weight to victory in the race in recent history, while just two others have finished in the first four in the past 20 years.
History may be against the Bengough Stakes winner, but if throwing down a challenge like the one he delivered at Newmarket on Saturday, he will surely be bang there on the Downs.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.