Peter Chapple-Hyam’s King’s Warrior, 33-1 betting underdog, was the surprising winner of the 53rd John Smith’s Cup at York on Saturday. Mounted by jockey Robert Havlin, King’s Warrior defied expectations and crossed the line with a winning time of 2 minutes 8.28 seconds.
First prize was set at £97,035 in the 1 mile 2 furlong, 88 yard horserace. Five-year-old King’s Warrior began to separate from the other contenders with three furlongs left, and his burst of speed would result in a gap of four-and-a-half lengths at the line.
Heading into the meeting, racing tipsters had tagged Mijhaar as the runner to beat with favourite odds of 7-2. The four-year-old would end up 15th among a field of 18 runners. Mid Mon Lady, at 22-1, came in second (£28,875) while Media Hype, at 9-2, came in third (£14,430). At seven-year-old, Mod Mon Lady was one of the older runners in a packed field. Ten-year-old Nanton was the long shot to win at 50-1 betting odds.
“I think the ground has made the difference,” Havlin said afterwards. “His last two runs have been on fast ground and, to be fair, Peter said the horse had been working really well and he’s not normally far wrong.”
Luca Cumani’s Kirthill (6-1) was one of the favourites but was withdrawn at the last minute. Area Fifty One, another strong contender at 9-2, placed fifth.