John Smiths Early Look

Good morning all,

After a look a the July Cup yesterday, it's to York I now have a look and to one of the knottiest of problems, the John Smiths Cup on Saturday. There's plenty to have a look at as well, and my thoughts are on the main piece.

No jumps today but there's one at Yarmouth that grabs my attention this afternoon.

John Smiths Cup

Wide open as ever, and you can make cases for plenty at this stage. The draw will filter a few out, once made, and we’ll have a better idea of a shortlist come Thursday morning.

Dash Of Spice will be top of most people’s lists after his win in the Duke Of Edinburgh at Royal Ascot, and there’s little doubting that, as an improving 4yo that’s rolls in here under just a 5lb penalty for that win, he’s got plenty going for him. The only issue I’d have with him is whether he’ll have the toe for this – to my eyes, he needed a bit further at Ascot rather than a drop back (didn’t lead until the furlong pole and then went away) but that would be my only concern.

Appeared was 4l behind him in fourth on what was his seasonal reappearance and the way he weakened out of it late suggested the run was indeed needed. He was a winner at York back in 2016 but two other runs at the track have been less fruitful, and again, maybe he’s better at 12f than 10½f. His chance is there to see, but others hold better claims.

If there’s one to take from the Ascot race that could go well here, it’s surely Thundering Blue. He was beaten after about a furlong at Ascot after Frankie, in his wisdom, decided to drop him back in the pack at the break (whereas both Dash Of Spice and Appeared were ridden into prominent positions) and he was simply left too far out of his ground and with too much to do when turning in. If you take his previous York C&D win, where he was nicely on top at the finish, he’d have plenty going for him here. See how the draw pans out and if it’s a kind one, he’s one I’ll be very interested in.

I do like Afaak, he was pick of the paddock when he won at York in May and I liked his chances for the Hunt Cup off the back of that. He’s run a cracker in that, finding only the one too good, and there’s surely more races to be won with him. But this trip has to be a concern – he does look a miler – and on that, I’ll wait for another day,

But there is another I like the look of, and that’s the consistent Brorocco. This trip could be absolutely ideal – he often finds himself getting there at 10f a little too late, and the extra 110yds will help. That was again the case when coming up against the improving Chief Ironside at Newmarket last time, where a steady pace didn’t help his cause either. And have a look at his run over C&D last August where, with a clear run, he would surely have gone close. He finds so much trouble in running in the latter stages it’s unreal. He’ll definitely be on my shortlist – here’s hoping the draw gods are kind….

I was toying with the idea of a day out at Yarmouth today but with three busy days ahead, I shall get some writing done today and watch from the comfort of my sofa. The one bet I'll be having is Hope Is High in the 3.20. I'm not sure this trip is what favourite Itsafreebie wants but Hope Is High certainly does, and her record at Yarmouth reads 241211. With De Sousa back on board (who also has a good record on the horse) I expect a better showing today.

Today's selection – Hope Is High 3.20 Yarmouth

Good luck with all your bets today,


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