The John Smiths Silver Cup has only attracted a field of five runners, but it’s a select and competitive field with a case for each of the runners.
On his best form, Communique should be able to see off these rivals but there is a worrying stat about his trainer on the Knavesmire. If you had backed all of his horses at York to a £1+ level stake, you would be down £387.83 – the biggest loss for level stakes betting for the Middleham trainer at any UK racecourse.
Moonlight Spirit has been well-backed for this race all week with quicker ground expected to be more to his liking than what he encountered in the Ascot Gold Cup. He was very disappointing that day and he has to step up on what he’s shown so far.
With that in mind, EAGLES BY DAY must come into the reckoning on his first start for the David O’Meara yard.
Last season, when trained by Michael Bell, he improved with each start. He eye-catching in both the Lingfield Derby Trial and in the King Edward VIII Stakes at Royal Ascot behind Japan. He was flying at the end at of the race and nearly snatched second.
He was disappointing on his first start this season at Royal Ascot, but it was very soft and tacky ground. He will appreciate a quicker surface here.
The feature race on the card at York is the John Smith’s Cup Handicap, a race won last year by Pivoine , going for a first back-to-back success in the race since 1986.
It’s a tough task and he’s sure to go well for his in-form trainer, Betway ambassador Andrew Balding, who also has a very good record in this race.
This is one of the most competitive handicaps of the season and certainly the most competitive I’ve seen so far this season, so it’s worth looking at a few selections.
AFAAK won the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot two years ago and ran very well in the same contest this year finishing a respectable seventh, only beaten just over six lengths at the finish.
He ran in this race last year and was beaten off a 3lbs higher mark and didn’t get the best of runs throughout. He’s still lightly-raced, and I think he can be competitive off this mark.
There are couple of David O’Meara horses who also should be looked at.
Tinandali , who attracted support earlier in the week. He comes here off the back of, arguably, a career-best run in the Royal Hunt Cup last time out, where he was flying at the death to finish fifth.
The Premier Fillies’ Stakes is a Class 2 handicap over the straight mile at Newbury with FESTIVE STAR heading the weights.
She wasn’t knocked about on her seasonal debut at Windsor last time, where the race was won by those at the front end on very quick ground. Her only bad run last year was on her final start at Ascot, where she hated the soft ground and couldn’t quicken at a crucial time, but she did keep on and plugged on in her own pace.
She may need to drop a few pounds in the handicap to be able to win a race of this nature, but she’s got ability and shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if there is confidence in the market.
Graceful Magic has ability but would need to prove herself over a mile before being supported. But it is an unknown as she wasn’t tried over this trip last year. She’s plenty quick enough mind and may want to be kept to sprinting.
The final leg of 4 To Win is the Aphrodite Stakes, a race for Fillies’ over 1m4f.
While she is one of the most light-raced horses in the field, there is a lot to like about LA LUNE from the Henry Candy stable.
She has only raced three times in her career but has been above average on each start.
Her debut run came at Sandown Park in a Novice Stakes that has thrown up plenty of winners since. It was her first day at school and she would have a learned a lot that day. You could tell. She seemed to understand her job late on.
She went to Salisbury on her second start, where she bolted up and went into many notebooks. We didn’t see her again until she ran over a year later at Pontefract in June this year and she ran a huge race to finish second in a listed race behind the 107-rated Antonia De Vega.
Clearly, she has not been easy to train but it’s good to see her out again and she can affirm the promise she has shown so far.
At a much bigger price, the twice-raced maiden Lady G could show a marked improvement with the step up in trip and has the magnificent Hollie Doyle on board, too.
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