The John Smith’s Cup is run every July at York racecourse and with the race having been sponsored by the John Smith’s Brewery since it’s first ever running in 1960 it’s the longest sponsorship association on the flat racing calendar.
Run over a trip of one and a quarter miles, it’s always a tough race to unravel with over twenty runners often declared but our John Smiths Cup Tips and trends can help you find the winner of the race.
In recent years the powerful William Haggas yard have done well – winning the prize in 2011 and 2013, while legendary trainer Sir Michael Stoute picked up his second success in 2017 when jockey James Doyle steered home his Ballet Concerto to victory.
With wins in 2007 and 2008 then Richard Fahey is another handler to have on your radar, while jockey Andrea Atzeni will be looking to win the prize for a third time in the last six years after landing the pot in 2013 and 2014.
To help pin-point the winner of the 2018 John Smith’s Cup we are on-hand with some useful key trends and statistics – use these to find the best profiles of past winners.
There are always many trends to apply to each race but to keep things simple we’ve picked out four standout stats and applied these to the main 2018 runners. We hope they help you find the winner!
In the build-up to the 59th running of the John Smith’s Cup, the David Elsworth-trained Dash Of Spice, who we last saw winning the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot, has been all the rage in the ante-post market. This 4 year-old will be looking to provide trainer David Elsworth with his first success in this race, but does he fit our key trends?
• 15 of the last 16 winners were aged 5 or younger (10 of last 16 aged four years-old)
• 13 of the last 16 winners came from stalls 9 or higher
• 10 of the last 16 winners carried 9-3 or less in weight
• 10 of the last 16 winners finished in the top four last time out
Trends – Key Runners
Dash Of Spice ✅✅❌✅
The likely market leader come post time looks set to be Dash Of Spice and it’s easy to see why punters have latched onto this four year-old. He bolted-up at Epsom by six lengths on Derby Day back in early June and showed that to be no fluke when winning the ultra-competitive Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. He’s up another five pounds here but that looks fair enough considering the ease of that most-recent success. Draw twelve looks fine too as thirteen of the last sixteen winners came from stalls nine or higher, while the only one of our four main trends he falls down on is the weight stat. He’s got to lump 9st 7lbs around and this will be the biggest weight he’s had to carry during his career so far. It’s also worth noting those recent wins were over one and a half miles so some may feel the drop back in trip is a negative. He has, however, won over this distance, while the fact we know he stays further will be a plus in the closing stages when the stamina of some of the other horses might be running out. With ten of the last sixteen winners aged four years-old he ticks that age stat and could easily still be well ahead of the handicap and a horse that may well progress into Listed and Group company – we’ll see! We’ve had two winning favourites in the last sixteen runnings, which is a fair return for a race of this nature, but in such a competitive race a lot of punters will also see him as poor value.
Thundering Blue is another that’s had its supporters in the build-up to the race. Trained by David Menuisier, this five year-old was a good winner here at York two starts ago. However, he also ran in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot and despite running well for much of the way got tired in the closing stages and eventually finished just under ten lengths behind Dash Of Spice. Yes, he’s got a five-pound pull in the weights this time – but will that be enough to overturn ten lengths? He also falls down on three of our four key trends, with his age the only thing he seems to have going for him. Draw five makes life hard and he’s also rated seven pounds higher that when winning at the track back in May. The pluses for him are that he drops in trip and that should help him get closer to Dash Of Spice, plus we know he acts on the track, however, with three of the main stats against him he’s got a fair bit to overcome.
Another horse we know likes the York track is Afaak – he won a Class Two Handicap here back in May. He’s since backed that effort up with a solid second in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot and gets in here off the same mark. This four year-old ticks the main age trend, plus has a good draw in twenty-one, so of the four trends gets a thumbs-up for three of them. The only one he falls down on is the weight-carried as he’s got 9st-7lbs to lump round – that’s the joint second top-weight and the same as Dash Of Spice. Like the favourite, it will be the most weight he’s had to carry during his ten-race career but if you are looking for a further positive he’s still lightly-raced so should have more to offer. The final thing to note and the big question mark surrounding his chance, is the trip! Fourteen of the last sixteen winners had won over at least one mile and one furlong. His recent runs have been over a mile and this will be the furthest he’s gone to date. He has, however, run well over one and one furlong in the past and the way he finished in the Hunt Cup last time suggests he’s got every chance of coping with the extra yardage.
Jockey Andrea Atzeni and trainer Roger Varian teamed-up to win this race in 2014 and they will be looking to repeat the feat with Appeared. This six year-old is another that is closely-matched with Dash Of Spice after finishing four lengths behind him at Royal Ascot last time. The Varian horse gave away five pounds that day so racing off level weights this time should bring the pair a lot closer. Draw twenty is a plus and with that last run being his first for ten months there is every reason to think he’ll have come on a lot for it. Add in that he’s a proven course winner, albeit over one and a half miles, then he’s sure to be popular in the betting. He does, however, only tick half of our four trends with his age (six) and weight (9st 7lbs) the two stats that he needs to overcome. Did you know, since 1970 we’ve only seen one winner of this race aged older than five?
Kynren had been a model of consistency until his last run when way down the field in the Royal Hunt Cup. That was the first time he’d finished out of the first three from seven runs. Connections have given him four weeks to get over that effort and with thirty runners in that Ascot race there are often a lot of hard luck stories. Being a four year-old he’s got that as a plus and also looks to have a nice weight (9st) so is another that ticks fifty percent of our four trends. However, as mentioned with Afaak, the trip is his big question mark. A massive 88% of the last sixteen winners of this race had proven winning form over at least one mile one furlong so with all his racing coming over a mile or shorter then his stamina over this trip would certainly be something we’d all be guessing on.
Buzz is a horse that’s come in for a bit of support in the last few days and with a few wins next to his name there is every reason to think he’ll be even more popular come race day. This Hughie Morrison-trained four year-old gets in with a light weight (8st 11lbs) and as a result only has to give weight away to three other runners. Oh, he’s also one of just a few in the race that gets a clean sweep for our trends – with age, recent form, draw and weight all big pluses. Okay, so his recent wins have been on the All Weather at Kempton, so he’ll need to translate that form to the green stuff. He’s also yet to win on the turf, but in his defence, he’s only had four runs on it. He looks a horse with much more confidence now and despite being rated five pounds higher than last time connections are offsetting three of those pounds with jockey Charlie Bennett’s claim. Draw thirteen will give him options, plus being a four year-old ticks the main age stat. Buzz also beat a certain Dash Of Spice at Kempton back in May! He received only a pound that day but now gets a massive thirteen pounds off the likely favourite (jockey claim included). Of course, Dash Of Spice has clearly progressed since but with Buzz having also won his next start very comfortably then he also seems to be going in the right direction.
The final horse we are going to look at is Dawaaleeb. He’s another that seems to have a lot going for him with all four main stats on his side. This four year-old has won three of his last six starts, including a neck success last time out at Redcar. He’s up five pounds for that but with that run coming in lower grade he had to get the job done with a massive ten stone on his back. Now upped in class he’s only got 8st 10lbs to carry and despite having better horses to race against the lighter burden will help his cause. Draw 11 is okay and the talented David Allen is an eye-catching jockey booking for this Les Eyre-trained runner. His only negative surrounds the trip as his recent runs have been over a mile, but he stayed on well last time to suggest it’s worth another crack and the quick ground will help all these horses with a few trip concerns.
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