THE Easterby clan like nothing better than raiding their local York track and SILVERY MOON (1.55) can shine on a terrific John Smith’s-sponsored card. A comfortable winner at Ayr six days ago when seeming to idle slightly in front, Silvery Moon is just the type to keep progressing through the summer months. The five-year-old goes well on softish ground and has a string of good efforts to his name in tight handicaps. His Scottish-born jockey David Allan is an adopted Yorkshireman after a long-standing association with the Easterby family and they have another big chance in the John Smith’s Silver Cup courtesy of course specialist CRACKENTORP (2.25). After winning the competitive annual ladies’ 1m 4f handicap on the Knavesmire last month, Crackentorp posted his best-ever performance in the Northumberland Plate when pushing favourite Il De Re all the way over two miles on heavy ground. This intermediate trip of 1m 6f is perfect and, should all 16 runners stand their ground, it is hard to see him being knocked out of the first four for each-way purposes.
The 53rd running of the bountiful John Smith’s Cup over an extended 1m 2f is one of the major betting events on the flat calendar and is regularly targeted by Sir Mark Prescott. MID MON LADY (3.00) is probably more exposed to the handicapper than some of his previous challengers, having been campaigned previously in Ireland. Both the mare’s outings for the baronet have been full of promise, running Luca Cumani’s progressive Danadana to a head in the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar, then filling third place behind Set To Music and Dragonera in the Warwickshire Oaks on very soft ground. She looks sure to be involved.
Punters are spoilt for choice, with top-class action at Newmarket and Newbury to further whet the appetite. At HQ, the Group 1 Darley July Cup sees SOCIETY ROCK (3.20) and Bated Breath fighting it out for market supremacy. Bated Breath found only electric Little Bridge too fast at Royal Ascot and is sure to have a big following. The main worry is soft ground and that tips the scales in favour of Society Rock. The five-year-old blew his chances at the start against Black Caviar at the royal meeting but, 12 months previously, he battled through the mud to lift the Golden Jubilee Stakes. Society Rock then chased home French flyer Moonlight Cloud on deep ground at Deauville and Newmarket’s testing six furlongs should bring out the best in him.
The feature at Newbury is the Weatherby’s Super Sprint but this two-year-old cavalry charge isn’t my cup of tea. Instead, POET (4.20) should reward his backers in the Listed event. The softer the better for Clive Cox’s mudlark and, despite being missing since April, Poet has the class to run this small field into the ground.
Compare horse racing odds and bet at the best prices