Fahey’s Smith Cup Chances

In spite of having five runners in the John Smith Cup on Saturday and winning it on three previous occasions, Richard Fahey is not too happy with his chances of winning the important handicap at York.

Richard Fahey

Richard Fahey

Previous winners for the North Yorkshire trainer were with Vintage Premium in 2002, Charlie Tokyo in 2007 and Flying Clarets in 2008 but he is not counting his chickens on this occasion.

The twenty strong field will boast five of his thirteen confirmations including Dream Lodge, Extraterrestrial, Albaqaa, Porgy and Demolition.

Sky Bet has Ricard Fahey as 4/1 to train the winner and 28/1 to train the first and second place getters.

"We've got plenty of runners in it, but they look vulnerable," he said.

"Albaqaa was third last year, but he's been getting left in the stalls and if he does that he won't win. He's got a bad draw as well.

"They are all in good order, it's just a case of if they are good enough and they probably aren't. We'll see.

"Paul (Hanagan) is on Demolition as I decided to claim 3lb off Dream Lodge with Barry McHugh.

"Things are going well, Paul had a couple of winners again on Thursday which is great. I do like the race and we've been lucky in it."

After placing sixth from the wide outside stall 20 in last year's race when trained by William Muir, Sweet Lightning will endeavour to improve the outcome for current trainer Michael Dods.

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Although starting from stall 11 this year Dods is afraid the five-year-old will find the ground too quick.

"A little rain would help, but he seems in good form," said the Darlington handler.

"He needs cover and was drawn very wide last year. William said they tried pushing him up near the front and it didn't work. He's better dropped in with a bit of cover.

"He's been running well and I think this is his best trip.

"The main thing is he wouldn't want it too firm, if it was he wouldn't let himself down. Hopefully it won't be too bad."

Though having success in this event with Fairmile in 2006, Walter Swinburn expects his hopes of another triumph will have been lessened by the 18 draw for Desert Kiss.

"Obviously we were delighted to get her in. She's fresh and well and goes there in great heart," he said.

"However, we are deeply disappointed with the draw. It would have only been slightly worse had she been draw in Doncaster.

"I know well from my experience in that race and from that draw at York it's hard work. You need every bit of luck going from that draw. We know what we are faced with, but equally she goes there in top form.

"It's one of the most prestigious handicaps of the season and from the draw it's going to be hard."

James Given is hoping Indian Days, without a win since July 2008, can finally be richly rewarded for his consistency.

"He's come out his race at Royal Ascot very well. He ran very well at York earlier in the year. This race is a whole different kettle of fish, but at least he's not fazed by the place," said the Lincolnshire trainer.

"He's in good heart, I'm very happy with him. The handicapper really hasn't seriously given us a chance for a couple of years now because of his consistency. The fact that he has been a consistent horse has worked against him.

"We've gone for a good 7lb claimer to get some weight off his back. although we're not drawn brilliantly (17).

"He's a less experienced rider but he has been riding very well. We're just hoping we might just find that little bit extra he needs.

"When I saw he was 33-1 I thought he was a massive price for his consistency.

"He hasn't won for two years but he was about three lengths off Conduit in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown last year."

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