The longest running sponsorship in flat racing will celebrate its Diamond Jubilee on Saturday 13 July, as the John Smith’s Cup is run for the 60th time.
First won by Fougalle back in 1960, the milestone will be celebrated with an RAF Flypast, giant flag, fun installations for the selfie generation as well as images of both the race and the wider world over those six decades.
On the track the £200,000 prize money of the feature contest makes the John Smith’s Cup the richest middle distance handicap in Britain.
Named after Britain’s best-selling ale, it is the centrepiece of a seven-race programme that now includes the recently upgraded John Smith’s Silver Cup as a Group Three contest worth £65,000 and the Listed John Smith’s City Walls sprint..
The opening day on the Friday features the Group Three William Hill Summer Stakes, offering a black type opportunity to the fastest filly down the six furlong course as well as marking the provider of SP Betting shop services on the Knavesmire.
One of Europe’s most prestigious and competitive middle-distance heritage handicap contests, the winning owner can look forward to receiving the specially-commissioned perpetual Wedgwood challenge trophy as well as a special diamond themed momento.
Since Fougalle was the first winner back in 1960, there have been many dramatic moments, with the race becoming a major betting heat of the summer. In 2018, Euchen Glen provided trainer Jim Goldie with a first win in the race, indeed a first win for a thoroughbred stabled in Scotland. It was a big day for jockey Alistair Rawlinson who also landed his first win in the race.
The Group Three John Smith’s Silver Cup continues to be a valued title for stayers, last year, the Marco Botti trained Dylan Mouth, recorded his final victory before starting a new career at stud.
The sprinters have their say in the Listed John Smith’s City Walls over five furlongs and the 2016 winner, Marsha, went on to multiple success at Group One level, including the Coolmore Nunthorpe, before going into the record books when she was sold to become a broodmare.
Always one of the big days of the year, this event has become a showcase for ‘Yorkshire’s Finest’, and sees John Smith’s treasuring its Yorkshire roots with a full Yorkshire menu of locally-sourced and home-made food. In addition, there will be a number of cask ales available at the racecourse, thanks to collaboration with fellow
The highlight on Friday, The William Hill Summer Stakes, is a Group Three sprint contest over six furlongs for fillies and mares, with a purse of £65,000. Last year’s race was won by Raven’s Lady for Newmarket trainer, Marco Botti; further success at Group Two level in Germany followed and she now races on the American stage.
Friday sees a number of other long-standing supporters of the Knavesmire return with Acturis back in attendance; alongside the accountancy firm responsible for audit matters at the track, Garbutt + Elliott. Once again, it is an “ITM Friday” as the Irish organisation responsible for promoting bloodstock sales from the emerald isle back a five furlong handicap.
The two days of racing get underway with an interesting novice contest over the unusual distance of five and a half furlongs. It is among the twenty-one contests backed by the European Breeders’ Fund.
Catering for broad musical tastes, both days offer the summer vibe of a steel band or the upbeat fun of The Monotones and Superlicks.
The Giant Screen overlooking the Roberto Lawn will continue to provide a home to Wimbledon coverage on Friday and earlier on Saturday.
A number of other giant screens will enable racegoers to enjoy even more of the action on both days, along with racing from Newmarket’s July Meeting and Ascot. The popular punters’ panel held prior to racing on the winners’ podium will preview the card on both days.