Media in the John Smith’s spotlight
Saturday 14 July 2012
Elaine Burke felt the five-year-old might not make the cut to one of Europe's most valuable handicaps, so the horse ran at Newmarket with the aim of getting a penalty to put him up the pecking order. But it did not go to plan and he was only fifth behind Area Fifty One, who renews rivalry.
"We're very happy he got in. I'm slightly concerned the run at Newmarket trying to get a penalty to make sure we got in might just have taken the edge off him, but equally he does seem in good form and we go there very hopeful," Karl Burke, the trainer's husband and assistant, said.
"He's got a lot in his favour - the ground, the draw (two) and he's a course and distance winner. We're very hopeful without being over-confident."
Area Fifty One booked his place by earning a 5lb penalty for that Newmarket victory and Richard Fahey's runner goes to the Knavesmire in good heart.
Fahey's assistant Robin O'Ryan said: "He's adaptable on soft ground and on good ground, so we're hopeful of a great run. He's in super form. He did it very well the last day and ran a great race at York as well. He's a tough horse, he's very professional."
Mijhaar is a leading fancy on the strength of two highly promising runs this term, the latest at Royal Ascot, where he was a close third to Gatewood in the Wolferton Handicap.
Trainer Roger Varian said: "Mijhaar ran a great race at Ascot and seems to have come out of that in good shape. He has run well at the track before, a mile and a quarter is his optimum trip and soft ground holds no fears for him. If he can reproduce his recent performances he should be thereabouts."
Memory Cloth is drawn next to Media Hype in stall one and his trainer Brian Ellison goes there with high hopes, as long as the five-year-old can last out the extended mile and a quarter.
The handler said: "He'll love the ground and he's in great form. It's a tough race and he's stepping up in trip, but he seems really well in himself. I think he's got a good draw. I'd rather be drawn one than 20."