John Smith’s Cup Betting Tips – Fifth Position the punt in York feature

York Betting Tips · Saturday, 18th Jul 2020 - 14:30 ·

Varian’s charge weighted to follow-up in hot Heritage Handicap

The big betting race at York on Saturday is the 1m 2f John Smith’s Cup (14:30) and Fifth Position looks the one to be on following a taking success last time out.

This Roger Varian trained four-year-old shaped with stacks of promise on debut when a tenderly handled fourth of 13 to Fox Chairman in a warm maiden at Newbury.

Fifth Position duly showed the benefit of that experience when landing a nine-runner novice contest over 1m at Nottingham where he stayed on gamely to get the better of Space Blues by a head.

The pair pulled five lengths clear of the third home and Space Blues has won four times since, been placed twice in Group 1 contests, and landed a Group 3 when last seen in action to now be rated 115.

That gives the form a very strong look. Fifth Position backed that up with a solid a 2 1/2 lengths third to Private Secretary in a 1m 3f Listed contest at Goodwood.

The son of Dark Angel was also far from disgraced in in finishing a 3 1/4 lengths fifth to Elarqam in a Listed contest at Sandown, a 4 1/4 lengths fifth to the thriving Duke Of Hazzard in a Goodwood Group 3, and when eighth of 30 to Lord North on his final start of last season in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.

Pattern performer in the making

Fifth Position has had just two starts this year, finishing a promising third on return to action at Newcastle before forging clear late to win going away by a length from Anythingtoday at Doncaster off a mark of 99.

The fourth home Sky Defender, who was beaten a total of 7 1/2 lengths, has since landed a competitive affair at Epsom to give the form a boost.

That suggests a 5lb rise in the weights for Fifth Position is more than fair. A revised rating of 104 should not be beyond him based on his success over Space Blues.

You also need a pattern performer to win this valuable Heritage Handicap, and Fifth Position certainly fits that bill.

So, with the yard going well and the in-form Jack Mitchell in the saddle, he looks to have lots going for him. Fifth Position makes plenty of appeal at the X on offer with Y.

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Caradoc rates the main danger

In a race where a case can be made for most of the 22 runners, Caradoc is feared most following an eye-catching run last time out.

Trained by Ed Walker, this five-year-old progressed at a rate of knots last season when winning three of his six starts.

In the last of those at Newbury, Caradoc came with a strong run from off the pace to get up close home and beat Great Example by 1/2 a length off a mark of 95.

The son of Caemlot then ran too bad to be true when sent off favourite for a Listed contest at Goodwood and trailing in a well-beaten fourth of six to Crossed Baton.

However, there was lots to like about his seasonal reappearance at Epsom two weeks ago when sixth of 13 to Sky Defender.

After being held-up and given far too much to do, Caradoc flew home in the straight to be gaining all the way to the line and be beaten just over four lengths.

It was a terrific effort given how the race panned out and one which showed Caradoc’s current mark of 100 should not be beyond him.

He is also entitled to strip much fitter for the spin, his first run in 231 days, and Caradoc came good at the second time of asking last season.

Other pluses is that he has won three of his six starts over the trip and has a 50 per cent strike rate in class two company having won twice and been placed once in four starts.

Everything looks in place for a huge run, and Caradoc can be backed at X with Y to notch a fifth career success.

Thriving Dark Jedi appeals each-way in John Smith’s Cup

Of those at bigger odds, the Tim Easterby trained and thriving Dark Jedi makes most appeal from an each-way betting perspective.

This four-year-old has rediscovered his form since joining the shrewd Yorkshire outfit at the start of this season.

After shaping well when a notch knocked about seventh at Catterick, Dark Jedi landed a gamble at Hamilton when overcoming trouble in-running to cosily beat Where’s Jeff by a length off a mark of 79.

The son of Dark Angel was then turned out quickly under a 5lb penalty and had little difficulty following-up at Ripon.

He again didn’t get the clearest of runs, but when a gap finally appeared showed a smart turn of foot under a hands and heels ride to win by just over a length from Nichols T.

Dark Jedi was well on top at the finish and value for much more than the winning, so a further 5lb rise does not look harsh.

Off a revised rating of 89 he still looks well-treated and ahead of the assessor given that he was rated as high as 100 at the start of last year when in the care of Charlie Hills.

Easterby has clearly found the key to Dark Jedi and this race should be run to suit his hold-up style. A bold bid to land the hat-trick looks assured and he can be backed at 20/1 with Betfair who pay extra places.

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