Can the Red Avenger take York by storm?
Now simply the John Smith’s Cup, what was originally titled the Magnet Cup has been a race with more than its share of controversy, with two high-profile disqualifications in my memory, with the first of those seeing the first and only dead-heat in the race’s history.
If Knockando was unlucky to have been chucked out, then spare a thought for backers of Mr Confusion, including his owner Richard Fenwick-Gibson, who positively hosed up under unheralded apprentice Ollie Pears only to get slung out on flimsy grounds. An appeal to the Jockey Club saw him reinstated, but all bets on him were lost as a result of the original decision.
Hopefully, this year’s race won’t cause punters such anguish, but it’s certain to provide bettors with their fair share of headaches as usual, with the valuable prize always attracting a strong field of handicappers.
Possibly the most popular runner with Saturday punters will be Bold Sniper, who was an excellent second in the Wolferton at Royal Ascot over 1¼m (as was Mullins Bay, the winner of this race in 2005), and has the added buzz factor of being owned by the Queen.
With the irrepressible Ryan Moore aboard her Majesty’s hope, the bookies will be taking few chances with their opening quotes. Another sure to attract his share of support is Clever Cookie, who made a decidedly belated start to his Flat career having shown useful form over hurdles, and is quickly making up for lost time, winning all three starts on the level, including both handicap outings on the Knavesmire.
He is considered an Ebor hope by connections, and has already won at a range of trips including that of the Ebor itself, but he’s not lacking gears at all, and isn’t expected to be greatly inconvenienced by dropping back half a mile in distance, for all he’s been set a stiffer test by a less-than-gruntled handicapper.
That pair look set to dominate the market, and certainly can’t be taken lightly, but the vote goes to one at a bigger price, and many will overlook Red Avenger on the back of a poor run in the Hunt Cup last time.
That may be a mistake, and the nature of that straight-mile charge didn’t play to the selection’s strengths, whereas he will be in his element going back around a bend at York. Two of his three career successes have come when going left-handed, and he again showed his liking for a turning track when third to Abseil at Epsom’s Derby meeting.
His last win came over this intermediate trip at Haydock a year ago, and as one who needs good or faster ground to show his form, it’s encouraging that York are expecting fine weather over the weekend. Dangers abound, as would be expected, but with the Ascot flop ensuring he’s pushed out a few points by the odds compilers, Ed Dunlop’s son of War Front can provide a much needed slice of value.
The BetBright Verdict
Win or Each-way Selection: Red Avenger @ 20/1
the race goes off at 2.55pm tomorrow at York Racecourse.
You can have a bet on the John Smith’s Cup at York in our horse racing page here.