Yorkshire Jockeys Horse Racing

Beverley Logo Catterick Logo Doncaster Logo Pontefract Logo Redcar Logo Ripon Logo Thirsk Logo Wetherby Logo York Logo



SIRVINO was the last Yorkshire-trained winner of the John Smith’s Cup back in 2009 – and the same stable is hoping Baryshnikov can follow in his hoof-prints on Saturday in the 63rd renewal of the famous heritage handicap.

Sirvino was under the care of Maunby trainer, David Barron, whose licence now also carries the name of his daughter, Nicola.

She remembers with great fondness the 16/1 success of the then four-year-old, who surged clear of a Sir Michael Stoute-trained joint-favourite to win by two- and three-quarter lengths, saying: “It was a fantastic day. Neil Brown rode him because we’d lost the jockey earlier in the week. It was just one of those things where it was all going wrong and then it all just happened for us.

“It was blazing hot and I just remember walking around in a complete daze for most of the day. I think the owners went off to celebrate in the John Smith’s beer tent in the middle of the course.”

She feels there are certain similarities between Sirvino and the six-year-old Baryshnikov, who this year has recorded victories at Pontefract and Chester, as well as finishing third at Redcar in early June. Barron added: “They’re both very solid, honest horses. Baryshnikov is a bit older, a bit wiser maybe. But he’s had a fantastic season – he’s run well all year, which Sirvino had going into the race.”

The joint-trainer at Maunby House believes the gelding should still be competitive off his career-high official rating of 94.  She added: “I think the style of race will suit him. He likes a good strong pace and he likes to travel round in the group. He’s got a good draw (7) – it’s now up to him really. Hand on heart I would probably like good ground, but he goes on most things.”

The Barron team is not only represented in the £200,000 John Smith’s Cup on Saturday, but also valuable heritage handicaps at both Newmarket and Ascot. Barron said: “It’s a big weekend. Fingers crossed they all run well and we’d be delighted if it’s more than that. Every time you go to York it feels like a proper day out. It would be wonderful to go in there with a shout again.”

Fellow Yorkshire-based trainer Roger Fell is triple-handed for the John Smith’s Cup with La Trinidad, Marie’s Diamond and Cockalorum all ready to represent his Nawton stables. The latter only went down by a head to Johnny Drama in last year’s renewal of the race. Fell’s assistant trainer Sean Murray said: “It was a great day. We almost thought we had it and it would’ve just capped our season, really, if we’d won that. It’s very nice to have a York winner, never mind the John Smith’s Cup winner.

“With us going so close last year, we thought we’d have a good crack this year and it’s a race we’ve targeted for 12 months now. We know it’s possible, so we’re trying our best.”

York’s latest two-day meeting gets underway tomorrow at 2.05pm with the William Hill Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap, one of seven scheduled races on the opening afternoon. Saturday’s racing starts at 1.45pm and the 63rd John Smith’s Cup Handicap, is scheduled for 4.05pm.