John Smith’s Cup Betting Tips & Predictions – York, Saturday 13th July 2019

We have high class racing up and down the country this coming Saturday, and York does its bit for the north with an excellent seven race card. The pick of the action at the Knavesmire is one of the biggest handicaps of the summer as the middle-distance performers line-up for the John Smith’s Diamond Jubilee Cup.

The long list of entries has been whittled down but we’re still left with a large field that looks as competitive as ever. Plenty are in with chances but we will be siding with Afaak as our main selection he makes his return from his impressive Royal Ascot triumph.

Top Tips

Afaak to win @ 7/1

Jazeel each way @ 12/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

A mile and two and half furlongs is the trip for this valuable Class 2 Handicap. Set to be run on good to firm going, this year the event offers £200,000 in total prize money.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good to firm 1m 2f 56y Class 2 £200,000 22 1/4 1-4

Recent Winners

Open to all runners aged three years and older, it seems we don’t want one either too young or too old here with seven of the past eight winners being either four or five years of age.

If you usually look to the odds of past winners for help, there is one thing definitely worth noting. This century the John Smith’s Cup has seen just one champion that returned greater than 20/1 in the betting.

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
2018 Euchen Glen 20/1 Jim Goldie Alistair Rawlinson
2017 Ballet Concerto 8/1 Sir Michael Stoute James Doyle
2016 Educate 18/1 Ismael Mohammed Thomas Brown
2015 Master Carpenter 14/1 Rod Millman Phillip Makin
2014 Farraaj 6/1 Roger Varian Andrea Atzeni

Analysis: Hills favours York test

Charlie Hills faced a tricky dilemma ahead of this weekend; should he sent Afaak to Ascot or to York? A shorter trip awaited down south but the Lambourn trainer has opted to try his gelding back over 10 furlongs. Although yet to win over this distance, the decision was quickly met with a healthy dose of market support. This will leave Hills no doubt feeling optimistic of his chances of claiming a first Cup win.

Afaak to do the business

Twice before Afaak (7/1) has tried and failed over one mile and two furlongs but third time could be the charm for the gelding. Within four lengths of the leader on his two previous attempts, it’s not as though the five-year-old looked out of place over a longer trip. He appears to have strengthened over the winter break too, evidence of which we saw when he brilliantly held on to win the Royal Hunt Cup last month. Withstanding heavy pressure from a series of talented runners on soft ground then, Afaak has what it takes to go the distance here.

Jazeel flying the local flag

Jedd O’Keeffe will be hoping his Yorkshire connection can perhaps inspire Jazeel to a lucrative win at the Knavesmire this weekend. The four year old is one of his new recruits, acquired in April, but already he’s made a hugely promising start following the switch. In a matter of months, Jazeel’s rating has jumped up by 12 pounds following a trio of top two finishes, including when the Quantum-owned horse wound up just a length behind this weekend’s favourite Mountain Angel (5/1). With little to separate them then, 12/1 is an exceptional price for the in-form horse.

Waarif back on the up

An entirely uninspiring start to the new flat season saw Waarif’s (16/1) rating take a tumble. Starting with an official rating of 100, the six year old was eight pounds worse off after a poor effort at York in May. An increase in distance put David O’Meara’s horse back on the right track though and he’s not looked back since, now boasting a career high rating of 101. With no reason to think revival is going to end anytime too soon, the gelding looks like enjoying the July Course test more than most.

Final Verdict: Afaak to win

This race is not the easiest to predict but for us Afaak is the standout option from the 22 hopefuls. Putting your eggs in one basket is rarely the best option for such a well-attended handicap though so each way flutters on Jazeel and Waarif also come highly recommended.

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