sport

53 left in John Smith's Cup

Last season's Cambridgeshire winner Educate continues to head the weights for Saturday's John Smith's Cup at York after 53 horses were confirmed for the 55th renewal of the famous handicap.

Yorkshire trainers hold a predictably strong hand in the contest, with David O'Meara responsible for no less than 11 of the possible starters and Richard Fahey, Brian Ellison and Tim Easterby all also being well represented.

However it is their Malton neighbour Peter Niven who is responsible for one of the likely leading fancies in the shape of the unbeaten Clever Cookie, who would carry 9st 7lb if the top-weight stands his ground.

Clever Cookie will be bidding for his third and most important course win of the season should he line up.

The six-year-old was twice successful on the Knavesmire in May, winning over this extended mile and a quarter and then dead-heating for a Listed contest over a mile and three-quarters, despite his trainer believing that the trip stretched his stamina too far there.

"He's grand. All being well he'll run as long as the ground is fine for him," said trainer Peter Niven.

"He's got loads of weight, but it's one chance he's got of going for a decent pot."

Niven will probably have to look for a jockey as Graham Lee, who has partnered Clever Cookie to victory in all his three starts this season, is likely to be in action at Newmarket's Darley July Cup meeting the same day.

He said: "Graham's going to Newmarket as far as I know. I don't know who's going to ride the horse yet."

Sir Michael Stoute has withdrawn Royal Ascot winner Arab Spring, who is likely to take his chance at Newmarket this week instead, but he has left in the Queen's Bold Sniper, second to Contributer in the Wolferton Stakes on his latest

Stoute also has a second possible in Stomachion, who was forced to miss the Old Newton Cup at Haydock over the weekend after suffering a setback.

Tres Coronas and Awake My Soul, third and fourth 12 months ago, could try again while others in what looks a typically trappy renewal include Farraaj, Nabucco and Two For Two.

Ed Dunlop's God Willing, fourth behind Kingston Hill in a Group Three at two, looks the only three-year-old with realistic hopes of making the line-up with the weight-for-age concession likely to see Epsom Derby Day winner What About Carlo missing the cut.