The four-year-old, picked up by owners Middleham Park Racing for a mere 11,000 guineas at Tattersalls Horses In Training Sales, nabbed the Old Newton Cup at Haydock last weekend in the style of a highly-progressive performer. Now, thanks to a 5lb penalty for that success, the David O’Meara-trained four-year-old can take his chance in the 57th running of the £200,000 John Smith’s Cup for which he is 4lb better off than he would be in future races.
“It’s all systems ago. He came out of Haydock fine. Obviously it’s a couple of furlongs shorter and the ground’s a lot quicker,” said Middleham Park’s syndicates manager Mike Prince.
“It’s a different test for him, but the handicapper has put him up to 104. He’s running off 95 plus a 5lb penalty so in theory he’s got 4lb in hand, so we have to run really.
“He needed a penalty to get in the race. He was impressive last week and looked to have a bit more up his sleeve. They’ll go quick over a mile and two so we’ll see if he can cope with that shorter trip.
“We’ve also put him in the Ebor and that will be his next target,” he added.
O’Meara, who trains near York, has two other strings to his bow in seasoned campaigner Birdman and Mijhaar, who is having his first run for the stable after being bought for £16,000 from John Ferguson’s Bloomfields dispersal.
James Fanshawe will be hoping the forecast showers materialise for his fancied runner Arthenus. The four-year-old showed he was approaching his peak when finishing a fine fourth to subsequent Group Three winner Sir Isaac Newton in the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot.
Jockey Freddie Tylicki, a former champion apprentice who won the John Smith’s Cup eight years ago on Flying Clarets, said: “He’s got the visor on. The guv’nor felt we might change something. He’s tailor-made for this race and he ran an absolute blinder in the Wolferton.
“It’s a very hard handicap to win. I won it eight years ago, when I was a 7lb claimer.
“You have to have the right horse for it. He ticks a lot of the boxes, but he still has to go out there and do it.”
Revolutionist was third in the Wolferton but his trainer Mark Johnston believes that the race was not run to suit.
“I didn’t think he got the best of runs at Ascot, he was drawn wide, he went wide round the bend and they started racing round the bend which is never good when you are stuck on the outside,” said Middleham-based Johnston whose classy filly Lumiere returned to winning ways in the Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.
“A mile and a quarter at York should be absolutely perfect for him and we’ve had it in our mind for quite a long time.
“In a big field the draw matters and it can be a lottery but he should be the ideal type for it.”