FOR MANY racegoers, the John Smith’s Diamond Jubilee Cup will always be the Magnet Cup after the well-known Tadcaster brewery decided to sponsor the race back in 1960, and having stayed loyal to the race ever since this is now the longest-running association with a flat race in the world.
Roger Varian is set to rely on ante-post favourite
MOUNTAIN ANGEL in the valuable handicap which looks typically trappy .The five-year-old finished a creditable fifth in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot on his latest start, having won his previous two outings at Epsom.
Saturday’s extended 10-furlong showpiece over the Knavesmire has a maximum field of 22 and earlier this week, Varian said: “I think we will just have Mountain Angel. He is in great form. He would be suited by the race. He would like a few showers to come through during the week, just take the sting out the ground.”
The Newmarket trainer also had UAE Prince and Fujaira Prince in the mix for the race, but both were removed at the five-day stage. He added: “UAE Prince is likely to go to Goodwood, and Fujaira Prince won’t run.”
John Gosden looks to rely on STYLEHUNTER after withdrawing Star Of Bengal, who was prominent in the ante-post market. The Newmarket trainer also saddles WEEKENDER, who has picked up minor honours in both visits to York and is likely to be in the mix again in the Group 3 contest at 2.40, with next month’s £1m Ebor very much on the agenda.
Leading fancies standing their ground include Charlie Hills’ Royal Hunt Cup winner AFFAAK, Charlie Appleby’s SETTING SAIL and, from Saeed bin Suroor’s stable, DESERT FIRE – while Ralph Beckett’s DOLPHIN VISTA still heads the weights on 9st 10lb.
There are no Irish-trained raiders after Joseph and Aidan O’Brien scratched their entries, but I’m looking much closer to home for a couple of each-way outsiders who will need horses to come out.
Middelham handler Jedd O’Keeffe has long thought JAZEEL is the perfect type for this race but he had a problem. He wasn’t going to get in until he pulled off a battling victory at Sandown last Friday. It wasn’t pretty and he’d have been third in another stride, but it was job done.
A five-pound penalty meant he was within one of making the field at the four-day stage and at last he might get the scenario that will bring out the best in him.
He’s a horse that is crying out for a strong gallop and a typical, stalking, Jamie Spencer ride. He had to set him alight too early at Sandown when it became clear how the race was developing and it’s to the horse’s credit that he got the job done.
But he’s better than that. He chased home MOUNTAIN ANGEL at Epsom the time before, conceding track position to that rival as he made headway down the centre of the course with three to run, and it would be no surprise if he reversed that form at the weekend.
At the time of writing, AASHEQ needs two to come out of a race which has long been on the radar for Tim Easterby’s charge and a big run is on the cards. He’s had three starts this season, including a winning reappearance at Pontefract, and he’s a strong-travelling horse who races close to the pace and stays further than ten furlongs.
The Knaversmire card begins with the Listed City Walls Stakes over 5f and Great Habton-based Easterby can score with COPPER KNIGHT, a three-time course and distance winner over his favourite track.
RISE HALL won’t get into the John Smith’s Cup but is another who can get back to winning ways over his optimum trip of a mile at 3.15.
Carrigill’s nap: (money back as a free bet if finishes outside top 4): WEEKENDER, Saturday, York, 3.50.
Augur’s best bet: JAZEEL, Saturday, York, 3.50.