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Haggas Double-Handed For John Smith's Cup At York

York Racecourse

6:01am 13th July 2013

Trainer William Haggas saddles two runners in Saturday’s feature race at York, the £150,000 John Smith’s Cup.

Newmarket-based Haggas will be represented by the current 11/2 favourite Stencive and Danchai, who carries the colours of Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar. The pair also owned the Haggas-trained Green Destiny, winner of this event in 2011.

Stencive produced a career best performance to finish second to Opinion in the Duke of Edinburgh handicap at Royal Ascot when last seen in action. He was drawn 20 that day, enduring a wide passage throughout and Haggas is again cursing his luck as his charge has been allocated stall 21 on Saturday.

He said: “To have been drawn 20 at Royal Ascot and then 21 here is very frustrating – I mean what are the chances?

“It obviously makes life tough for him but he seems in very good form and I still think he will run well.”

Haggas’ other runner, Danchai, faired marginally better in the draw and will break from stall 16. The son of Authorized, a 16/1 chance, steps up in trip having run with credit in the Coral Challenge at Sandown last Saturday.

Haggas added: “Danchai ran as though he needed a step up in trip and he should be suited to York.”

As is always the case, the 54th running of this valuable contest has attracted a fiercely competitive field and there will be high hopes of a Yorkshire-trained winner with 10 of the 22 declared runners representing the white rose county.

The most popular in the market is the Mark Johnston-trained Star Lahib (12/1) who will bid to win her second big prize in eight days having taken the Old Newton Cup at Haydock last weekend.

Later on the card, Haggas will be optimistic of a winner courtesy of Heeraat in the Listed John Smith’s City Walls Stakes.

The son of Dark Angel drops down in grade having run a terrific race to be sixth in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and he looks to have a good chance of returning to winning ways.

Haggas said: “Heeraat ran very well at Royal Ascot and he should go close.”

The 11 declared runners include the 11-year-old Borderlescott whose finest hour came when he won his second Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes over course and distance in 2009, will coming out of retirement have a fairytale first step?

The seven-race card on Saturday offers cumulative prize money approaching £300,000 and the action gets underway at 1.45

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