John Smith's Cup
Heritage Handicap, York 14:55
£150,000 added,
3yo plus,
1m 2f 88y, Class 2
Saturday 12th July 2014

1 Farraaj 6/1
2 Zain Eagle 20/1
3 Bold Sniper 4/1F
4 Educate 20/1
NR: Energia Davos (BRZ), Macbeth (IRE), Nabucco, Tres Coronas (IRE)
16 ran Distances: 1½l, 1¾l, ¾l
TIME 2m 7.96s (slow by 0.96s)

Farraaj is set to try his hand in Group company after defying the steadier of 9st 11lb in the 55th John Smith's Cup at York.

© Racehorse Photos

A return to the Knavesmire for the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes on July 26, won last summer by subsequent Coral-Eclipse winner Mukhadram, could be on the cards for the fast-ground loving five-year-old.

Andrea Atzeni, winning back-to-back John Smith's Cups, had the Roger Varian-trained Farraaj smartly out of the gates to try to overcome his wide draw, and it worked as he was soon tracking the pace-setting Zain Eagle with the Queen's Bold Sniper not far behind.

Approaching the last half-mile it looked like Zain Eagle and Tom Eaves might have slipped the field after injecting some pace, but Farraaj (6-1) responded to Atzeni's urgings and got on top late in the day to prevail by a length and a half.

Bold Sniper, the 4-1 favourite, was third with Educate fourth.

"He's a good horse on his day, he just needs rock-hard ground. There was no pace in the race, which was unusual for a race like this," said Varian's assistant David Eustace.

"From stall 22 we knew he had to go on and Andrea gave him a great ride, got him in the box seat and the horse making the pace (Zain Eagle) gave us a good tow into the race. For a second I thought he might not get to him as they don't come back in this ground.

"He's got to step into proper Group company now. He could come back for the Sky Bet Stakes."

Varian was at Newmarket, where he said: "He's been a grand servant over the years and it is lovely to see him win a big one. I was glad there was not rain at York earlier in the week, because he needs top of the ground.

"I'm not sure what we'll do next as handicaps are out of the question now - he won off a mark of 111, so we will have to see what suitable Pattern races there are.

"A mile and a quarter on fast ground seems to be ideal for him, but I am delighted to see him win a race like that - he deserves it."

Atzeni, the first rider to win the race two years in a row on different horses after scoring on Danchai in 2013, said: "It's a great race to win and he's a lovely horse.

"I was drawn really wide but he jumped really well and I managed to get a good position.

"He's a good horse on his day and the key with him is the ground - he has to have it fast."

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55th John Smith's Cup (Heritage Handicap)
£150,000 added, 3yo plus, 1m 2f 88y, Class 2
16 ran
Going: Good to Firm

R Varian
Andrea Atzeni
9st 11lbs
6 - 1
Zain Eagle
R M H Cowell
T Eaves
8st 9lbs
20 - 1
1 1/2 length
Bold Sniper
Sir Michael Stoute
R L Moore
9st 2lbs
4 - 1
1 3/4 length
I Mohammed
T P Queally
9st 12lbs
20 - 1
3/4 length
D O'Meara
D Tudhope
8st 11lbs
9 - 1
1/2 length
Sennockian Star
M Johnston
J Fanning
9st 2lbs
20 - 1
Queensberry Rules
W J Haggas
S Sanders
9st 0lbs
14 - 1
1 1/4 length
Pacific Heights
B Ellison
George Chaloner
9st 0lbs
25 - 1
1/2 length
Clever Cookie
P D Niven
P McDonald
9st 7lbs
11 - 2
1/2 length
Saxo Jack
S bin Suroor
William Carson
9st 5lbs
25 - 1
4 lengths
Red Avenger
E A L Dunlop
Connor Beasley
8st 10lbs
12 - 1
3/4 length
J J Quinn
P Makin
8st 13lbs
9 - 1
1 length
Ingleby Angel
D O'Meara
M Dwyer
8st 11lbs
50 - 1
3/4 length
D M Simcock
Hayley Turner
8st 11lbs
33 - 1
3 3/4 lengths
S bin Suroor
K Fallon
8st 9lbs
10 - 1
3 1/2 lengths
Two For Two
D O'Meara
Sam James
9st 1lbs
20 - 1
1 1/4 length
NR Nabucco
J H M Gosden
Kieran Shoemark
9st 9lbs
Tres Coronas
T D Barron
George Chaloner
9st 4lbs
Energia Davos
M Botti
M M Monaghan
8st 12lbs
M Appleby
Raul Da Silva
8st 9lbs

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