Educate powers to victory in the John Smith’s Cup at York
PICTURE: Louise Pollard
By Keith Melrose 4:20PM 9 JUL 2016
Report: York, Saturday
57th John Smith’s Cup (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2), 1m2f88yds, 3yo+
EDUCATE put up a tremendously gutsy display to land the 57th John Smith’s Cup under Thomas Brown for trainer Ismail Mohammed.
Educate had also run in the 54th, 55th and 56th runnings of the race but was able to hold off challenges on all sides, lastly from Elbereth, to win by half a length.
The field remained quite bunched coming into the straight and it was a quartet near the stands’ side – the winner, Belgian Bill, Revolutionist and Gold Trail – who first went on.
It was Gold Trail in the Godolphin colours that pressed Educate for longest, though Elbereth and Earth Drummer burst from the far side of the pack to lay down a final challenge, both passing Gold Trail close home but not getting any closer to Educate than the final margin.
Educate has been a fixture in big handicaps of this type, finishing fifth in the Wolferton at Royal Ascot last time, but had not won since the 2013 Cambridgeshire, when he was ridden by Johnny Murtagh.
At seven years old, he is the oldest winner in the history of the John Smith’s Cup, which stretches back to 1960. A handful of six-year-olds won the race in its early days, but not since My Swanee in 1969 had a horse older than five emerged triumphant.
Mike Marshall, assistant trainer to Mohammed, said: “We have sweetened Educate up, Emma Clutterbuck rides him at home and she has done a good job, as has Shamsul Wahab who looks after him.
“Getting him happy again was the most important thing, we have had to tread carefully with him as he had a lot of mileage. Conditions suited today, the bit of rain definitely helped him. They didn’t go over fast early on and that might have played in to our hands.”