The big handicaps keep coming and this week we’re looking at the ultra-competitive John Smith’s Cup at York.
The market has changed a little since the defection of Afaak, one who may well have been the tip and who will surely come again, but we’re left with a high class field and a mix of youth and experience as well as mile horses stepping up to challenge some established middle-distance types.
We’re left with a big field to go through, but we’ve listed six against it who should all be considered leading lights in what is a now a very valuable race with over £124,000 to the winner.
Well drawn for a trainer who has class and knows how to win these big handicaps, this son of Cape Cross is lightly raced as well and has plenty more to give.
His third at Chelmsford is probably undervalued, as so many performances still are on the all-weather tracks, and a look at his profile overall suggests and fast ground mile-and-a-quarter is right up his street so we should expect a career best from him as long as he handles the big field and strong pace.
We pretty much know what to expect from this 5yo now but that’s not to say he’s not a leading light in this with conditions and the draw very much in his favour.
He’s been racing up with some good handicap types this season and his time could well be coming although he wouldn’t be the very best handicapped horse in the race in truth.
Dash Of Spice
Promoted to strong favouritism after Afaak had to withdraw due to a dirty scope, David Elsworth’s middle-distance performer has gone from strength to strength but the handicapper has parked a truck on him after his Duke of Edinburgh Stakes win at the Royal meeting and the drop to 1m2f is not guaranteed to be in his favour.
Many have had this one down as a big handicap winner since his third in the Spring Mile at Doncaster, though that was on much softer going and the fast conditions here are still somewhat of an unknown with him having only won a weak maiden on quick ground at Carlisle.
He’s certainly an improving horse though and one who should appreciate this step up in trip, so as long as the ground doesn’t present a problem he should be bang there at the finish. Four-year-old’s like him are known to keep improving as the summer goes on and it may be worth taking a chance on him on the good-to-firm ground over this trip.
Looking like for too big a price for what he has achieved; he was singled out as a potential Irish 2000 Guineas horse when with Dermot Weld but that all went wrong when he got injured.
Now with Declan Carroll, he put up a strong performance to win at Wetherby early in the campaign before a good placed effort over this course and distance. He was expected to go close back in Ireland recently and one of these big pots remains within his compass.
What’s The Story
Drawn right on the inside and improving all the time, Keith Dalgleish’s runner has been going well in big field handicaps of late and the step back up to 1m2f could be just what he needs.
The form of his Royal Ascot and Newcastle runs are solid and with the very good Callum Rodriguez taking a very handy 3lbs off his back he must be considered to have a very serious chance.
This is even tougher than usual with plenty of question marks over even the classiest runners in this race. Dash Of Spice may want a longer trip, What’s The Story is stepping up to this distance and KYNREN may well want slower ground.
On the basis that his trainer David Barron wouldn’t run him if the ground was totally unacceptable for him though, it’s Kynren we take a chance on. He’s getting better all the time and looks like he’s about ready to win one of these valuable pots, while the handicapper has not got to grips with him just yet.