Luca Cumani: trainer looking to win the John Smith's Cup for the first timePICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Cumani is keen on his John Smith's Cup pair
PUNTERS have three of the toughest summer Saturday puzzles to solve on the same afternoon this weekend, but plenty eyeing the opening shows for the John Smith's Cup at York will be interested in Luca Cumani's pair Danadana and Kirthill.
Cumani offered punters encouragement on Monday, when bookmakers priced his two possibles prominently in the market, with Danadana second-favourite at a best-priced 7-1 and his stablemate's odds ranging from 8-1 to 14s.
Cumani, known for his ability to take out big handicaps - though he has yet to win the John Smith's Cup - said: "Both horses are in very good order. Danadana has won his last two and he did it well at Redcar.
"Unfortunately he was withdrawn from Royal Ascot due to the rain and we hope it stays away from York, as he won't run if the ground is soft."
He continued: "Kirthill ran very well at Ascot and he showed he is up to getting in the frame."
The going was described on Monday evening as soft, good to soft in places, and there is a mixed weather forecast for the rest of the week.
Favourite for the John Smith's Cup is Wolferton Handicap third Mijhaar, at a general 4-1.
The other big-betting handicap on Saturday is the 32red Bunbury Cup at Newmarket, for which the market is a lot more open. Everything can be backed at 10-1 or bigger, though Cape Classic is favourite at 7-1 with Ladbrokes and William Hill.
The Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury is the other main head-scratcher on Saturday, but bookmakers are unlikely to tackle this race until declarations on Thursday.
So much good racing on one day has been the subject of much debate and Coral spokesman David Stevens said on Monday: "It's a packed schedule this Saturday, with two of the season's big handicaps among a host of top class racing, although in an ideal world we would prefer big betting heats such as these spread around the calendar."
Market springers on Monday included Golden Lilac in the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on Friday, with Andre Fabre's positive comments in Monday's Racing Post newspaper fuelling the price cut from 11-4 to as short as 6-4 with Ladbrokes and Boylesports, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes favourite St Nicholas Abbey, who was shortened to 2-1 by several firms, having been available at 3-1 on Monday morning.