There was nothing bitter about Anmaat’s performance in the 63rd running of the John Smith’s Cup as Owen Burrows’ 5-1 joint-favourite held on gamely to pick up the £103,000 first prize.
Off the track for 287 days since finishing second in the Cambridgeshire last year, the four-year-old defied a mark of 103 to pick up the fourth success of his career.
Outsider The City’s Phantom led the 22-strong field for a long way and there were plenty in contention as the historic 10-furlong contest entered the business end.
But it was the gelded son of Awtaad, ridden for the first time by Kevin Stott, that loomed up looking like the winner at the furlong pole and he showed plenty of tenacity in the closing stages to first win a prolonged battle with eventual fourth Spirit Dancer and then hold off Achelois (second) and the fast-finishing Intellogent (third).
“It was a great effort today by the horse and all my team to get him to win that after 280-odd days. To be able to win such a competitive handicap is a hell of a performance,” Burrows said.
“He was very slow to come to hand anyway, I had him in the Lincoln but he was a woolly as anything. We thought we’d just give him a bit of time as he just had a few niggly little hold-ups, nothing too major.
“We’ve had this race in mind for a while and it’s brilliant that it’s come off. We’ll probably be forced into stakes company now, I’d have thought – we’ll see what the handicapper does, but he won that off 103 so we’ll see and go from there.”