John Smith’s Cup Betting Tips

John Smith’s Cup Betting Tips

The John Smith’s Cup is back. A huge handicap, this race is run over the Juddmonte International course at 1 mile, 2½ furlongs of York’s track.

Worth £200,000 with just over half going to the winner, the John Smith’s Cup is massive. It has been sponsored by the brewery since its inauguration in 1960, run for a long time as the Magnet Cup, and represents the longest-running sponsorship in racing history.

It takes a good horse to win this. They have to be improving and/or have plenty of weight in hand, just like last year’s winner Anmaat who is now a Group 1 scorer. The maximum 22 runners line up this time, with these six making our shortlist:

Long Tradition

Along with White Wolf, Long Tradition is one of two in with a shout for Saeed bin Suroor who is increasingly dangerous in major heritage handicaps.

Long Tradition is a six-year-old now who has only run seven times. A very easy winner at Chelmsford, he likes things quick but doing it there and doing it back on turf are two different things. Rowan Scott rides.

Marhaba The Champ

Kevin Ryan knows his way around York. His Marhaba The Champ, owned by long-time supporter Jaber Abdullah, has a lovely profile for this race.

Just a four-year-old, this son of Galileo is a two-time winner with his latest success having come over this course and distance on quick ground in May. He wasn’t so good at Epsom last time, but back here he can continue his improvement.


Many would question the wisdom of shortlisting a horse which hasn’t run for 227 days and then has to take on this sort of company from stall 20.

The fact is however that Yorkshireman and top-class trainer William Haggas targets races like this very successfully, with his main man Tom Marquand also being on hand to ride.

Millebosc has had only the one run in Britain since joining Haggas from France, a fair run at Lingfield last November. If the ground isn’t too quick, he can make his presence felt from out wide.


Getting it out of the way early; there is one negative with Nobel and that is that he was disappointing over course and distance in May in the race won by Marhaba The Champ. He was favourite for that race though, and there is little else in his profile that suggests this shouldn’t suit.

After winning his first two races, Nobel was sent up to Listed company last October. A mark of 100+ was expected of him even back then.

His York run came first time up after wind surgery, but he was much better on Northumberland Plate Day at Newcastle when monstering his handicap field and clearing away ever so easily.

He is rated 97 officially now, though in truth could have put in a 100+ performance that day and will have improved again now. He gets in here off the equivalent of 93 and looks supremely well handicapped for Qatar Racing, Andrew Balding and Cieren Fallon.

Sea The Casper

Simon and Ed Crisford train Sea The Casper, another improving four-year-old.

A fast-ground winner at Redcar some time ago, there is nothing to suggest conditions won’t be to his liking this weekend and he is certainly well handicapped after an easy win at Lingfield last time out. That was his first start for some time but he’s had four weeks to get over it.

Sonny Liston

Sonny Liston has been well fancied for this race all week, due partly to his fine runner-up effort to Jimi Hendrix in the Royal Hunt Cup.

This horse will have to successfully step up in trip and of course he is a little more exposed than some others, but there is no doubting that he has very strong recent form in the book.


A fascinating race, as always. Any one of a dozen horses could be strongly recommended by the racing media and most likely will be.

Both Sea The Casper and Long Tradition both look strong to us, but they also share something in common. Both come here on the back of impressive-looking all-weather wins and it remains to be seen whether they can reproduce the form back on turf.

In the case of NOBEL, he was a wide-margin winner despite the surface at Newcastle and not because of it and he looks by far the best handicapped horse in this race.

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