The Knavesmire for one of the courses most famous and longest sponsored race The John Smith’s Cup on a gorgeous and sunny afternoon.
Last Sunday saw the second stage of the Grande Departe as the second stage of the Tour De France went from the Historical City of York to the Steel City of Sheffield, this afternoon it was the return of the horses but York have given all those to attended a nice reminder with this huge picture down below of that famous Sunday morning.
Racing wise it was a very busy Saturday with big meetings also taking place at Newmarket and Ascot plus a fair card at Chester, it was very much like Christmas Day for the purists of the turf,even as someone who has a preference for the winter game this was a fine day for horse racing to showcase what the flat has to offer.
Seven races from 5f to 2m and it produced some excellent finishes.
1.40 John Smith’s Racing Stakes,(Hcap) 1m,3yo+ (0-105)
A useful looking race on paper which went to recent Royal Ascot fourth Bronze Angel,trained by Marcus Tregoning and ridden by Martin Dwyer, a former Cambridgeshire winner he was 1lb below that rating here and back up a mile from 7f he had to weave through traffic down the straight and picked up in the last furlong to win readily.
Bartack was second and has already won this season,he isn’t finished with yet,Mujazif plugged on in third,he is yet to win over 1m and fourth went to Alfred Hutchinson who is much better on the sand than grass.
No doubt connections of Bronze Angel will be thinking of the Cambridgeshire again although that big 1m at Glorious Goodwood could be the next target.
2.20 The John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes,Listed Hcap,1m6f,3yo+ (0-110)
Eight went to post of which six of them hold entries for next months Ebor so this was a chance to get their eye in on the course and distance.
A few of these had questions to answer regarding their current form, the pace was steady as they left the stalls, Filly Debdebdeb took them along early until Andrea Atzeni had enough after 5f and took Statutory to the front and quickly upped the ante until getting headed by the pelaton in the last furlong.
Hitting the line we had a wave of four horses and it was Continuum for Joe Fanning and Peter Hedger who gave hot favourite Waila a 0.75 length defeat,a winner of two races over 1m4f last season he came here off the back of a recent 9th behind the highly regarded Arab Spring at Royal Ascot
Waila is proving to be quite costly to follow but she is slowly getting more black type which will be the main aim for her.
Great Hall was third,this was his first start after racing in Dubai,next months Ebor will be in the pipeline no doubt, Moment In Time was staying on in fourth,this was much better from her this season,could be worth trying her over 2m maybe?
2.55 55th John Smith’s Cup Stakes (Hcap) 1m2f 88yds,3yo+
A high quality renewal of this famous 10f handicap in which plenty had chances on form coming into it
In the end it was a fairly straight forward victory for second top weight Farraaj,he came into this race off the back of a win at Epsom running of a mark of 111 (good job he isn’t owned by cricketers!)
Bottom weight Zain Eagle set the early pace as was expected and was still in contention with 1f to go but then Farrajj hit full momentum and always had the better of Zain Eagle,nothing really came out of the pack to challenge, Bold Sniper in the Queens colours was third and a return back to 1m4f should be the most obvious thing to do.
Of the other places horses Educate in third is still in the grip of the handicapper,Chancery in fifth is due to up 4lbs and will find things even tougher,Queensbury Rules in seventh ran a lot better than the position suggests,only six lengths in all,he could be a Cambridgeshire horse and dual purpose horse Clever Cookie was staying on in ninth,only seven lengths away I think a step back up in trip will be ideal and he could be back for the Ebor.
As for Farrajj his trainer Roger Varian will feel very happy after coming here instead of Ascot for a Group Two race,this former Winter Derby winner may come back here for the Duke of York Stakes,a Group Two over CD in two weeks time or maybe the Rose Of Lancaster at Haydock.
Some sad news that came out of the race was Godolphin’s Tarikhi who collapsed after the line and was sadly fatally injured,Condolences to all at Godolphin
Below,York Parade Ring.
3.30 The John Smith’s City Wall Stakes,Listed,5f,3yo+
Nine went post of which eight of them hold entries in next months Nunthorpe over CD.
A useful and interesting race here with a few of these keeping good company in some of the big sprint races this season, a couple of improving 3yo mixed in with some popular stalwarts of the speed game.
A simple win here for the 7yo Take Cover who made all and gave the 3yo G Force who has improved greatly this season a 1.25 length beating, Monsieur Joe came third and holds his form quite well then back in fourth we had the Group Class old warrior Kingsgate Native,his enthusiasm at the age of nine is still firing in his belly and as expected he will be back for next months Ebor.
This was only Take Cover’s second race of the season,first time out he was eighth in the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot so this was a much easier race for him, Goodwood looks the next logical race in the King George.
4.05 The John Smith’s Median Auction Maiden Stakes,6f,2yo.
A first time out win for Flaming Spear under Ryan Moore for Kevin Ryan who took this race last year with The Grey Gatsby, Costing £260,000 at the sales he was sent off the 11/10f, he travelled well and when asked made his move and took the lead in the last furlong to go on and win by 2.75 lengths from early pace setter and runner up Lady Gemini, Polarisation came third,he made his debut over 7f and a step back up looks likely and fourth went to Godolphin’s Best Example who was making his debut,he will have learnt from this.
A lot to like about Flaming Spear,I would not be surprised should he come back for the Gimcrack, he was making his debut here and will have learnt as the race went on.
Below,Flaming Spear and Ryan Moore.
4.40 The John Smith’s Stayers Stakes,(Hcap) 2m 88yds,4yo+ (0-95)
A real ding dong battle down the Knavesmire here in this long distance event which eventually went the way of the Dr Marwan Koukash owned Gabrial’s King who would have been watching this from his favourite course Chester.
More of a Wolverhampton specialist he was held up in the early stages and slowly began to chase the leaders two furlongs out and Danny Tudhope before just getting the better of recent Newcastle victor Knightly Escapade,the winner wouldn’t be the classiest stayer but this 5yo was getting his eighth career win,maybe the 2m5f race at Glorious Goodwood will be the next stop for him?
Brockwell who was sent off favourite under jockey replacement Hayley Turner led over two furlongs out before headed in the last furlong,he runs much better at Haydock where he has three wins,maybe connections will be eyeing a 1m4f or 1m6f there later in the season.
One horse who was a bit disappointing was the Godolphin horse Great Fighter,trying 2m for the first time he faded tamely but being a 4yo gelding I fully expect him to end up in the black silks of Bloomfields for John Ferguson.
5.15 The John Smith’s Stakes (Nursery Hcap) 2yo
A thrilling finish to the day here as judge Nick Hargreave who no doubt would be hoping for a simple finish so he can get out of the car park quickly was pressed into action as a three way photo came with Kibaar,Denzille Lane and Bahamian Sunrise finished in that order with the official distance given as a nose and another nose.
Kibaar came into this race off the back of a recent win at Ffos Las over 5f,clearly the extra furlong helped,he may even get 7f in due course.
Denzille Lane last ran in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot,he was eleventh they day but was a lot better here,he is effective of sand and turf so plenty options will await him and Bahamian Sunrise continues to run well without winning,he is one of those costly to follow horses.
A very enjoyable afternoon on the Knavesmire then, A huge crowd packed in to have a good day out at one of Yorkshires big summer events.
Of the horses today Flaming Spear is one to keep an eye out for in the future,if he turns up at next months Gimcrack he should be in the shake up.
Next up for me will be a review from my trip to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, very much looking forward to that.
Till next time,keep reading and retweeting please.