Racing: Running style of Great Plains can steal Cup

On the face of it, York should be one of the fairest tracks in the country. Its turns are generous, its straight long and level. Yet the place is becoming increasingly mistrusted as a betting environment, with variable ground seeming to produce fluctuating biases. Historically, a high draw seemed lethal in the John Smith's Cup. Yet this hugely valuable handicap has been won for the past two years by horses drawn 19 and 18, and it seems pointless to be dogmatic in seeking the winner today.

Forgery holds claims stepped up in trip, but may not want the ground too firm and there are two more interesting candidates - both of which carry the colours of Prince Khaled Abdulla.

Public Forum ran deplorably at Royal Ascot, but his success over an inadequate trip on his reappearance had indicated that he was capable of better and it could be worth forgiving him one poor performance.

But Great Plains (3.55) is more obviously on the upgrade, having produced an improved effort at Salisbury last time. His penalty offers some hope of revenge to the runner-up, Fairmile, but Great Plains has very few miles on the clock and his earnest style of galloping should be ideally suited to York, which fairly dependably rewards positive tactics. Abdulla's retained jockey, Richard Hughes, is down at Lingfield - riding Stronghold in a fascinating race against Cesare and Nayyir, sadly with no terrestrial cameras present - but Great Plains will scarcely suffer from the booking of the excellent Eddie Ahern.

The same jockey will be hoping that Lost Soldier Three can repeat his success last year in the John Smith's Silver Cup, but faces a formidable rival in LINAS SELECTION (nap 3.20). This colt bumped into a wolf in sheep's clothing at Newmarket in the spring, receiving just 5lb from the top-class Papal Bull, but has not looked back since and won with total authority when stepped up to a mile and a half at Royal Ascot last time.

Though punished with a 13lb rise in the ratings, he is one of those horses that seem to thrive dramatically for Mark Johnston. The extra distance would normally be a source of doubt but his relentless style of running should be ideally suited to York.

Wyatt Earp (next best 2.45) was often unlucky last season and remains on a fair mark, just 4lb higher than when gaining an overdue success at Catterick in the autumn. The clock suggested that he is approaching a new peak when he went down with all guns blazing at Pontefract during the week.

Chris McGrath

Nap: Linas Selection (York 3.20)

NB: Wyatt Earp (York 2.45)

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'