York: Varian wins John Smiths with Faraaj
Faraaj looks set to try and make his mark again at Group level following an impressive display in the 55th John Smith’s Cup at York.
Tipped up on air by our very own Dean Ryan, he was well positioned under Andrea Atzeni, tracking the leader and eventual second Zain Eagle as it paid to be up with the pace as the leader got the fractions right. He battled well to a length and a half success with the 4/1 Favourite Bold Sniper finishing third under Ryan Moore.
A return to the Knavesmire for the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes on July 26, won last summer by subsequent Coral-Eclipse winner Mukhadram, could be on the cards for the fast-ground loving five-year-old who has won a Listed and Group 3 race.
Jockey Andrea Atzeni enjoying back to back John Smiths Cup victories, having won the race last year on Danchai, said: “It is a great race to win. He is a lovely horse. I was drawn wide but jumped well and got a lovely position. I wanted to get cover straight away and when I got to the first bend he dropped his head. The other key to him is the ground – he has to have fast ground.”
Varian, watching the race from Newmarket, added: “He’s been a grand servant over the years and it is lovely to see him win a big one. I was glad there was not rain at York earlier in the week, because he needs top of the ground.
“I’m not sure what we’ll do next as handicaps are out of the question now – he won off a mark of 111, so we will have to see what suitable Pattern races there are.
“A mile and a quarter on fast ground seems to be ideal for him, but I am delighted to see him win a race like that – he deserves it.”
By Sean Jackson / Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
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