Danchai (grey) clings on to win the John Smith's Cup from StencivePICTURE: Alec Russell
Danchai leads home Haggas one-two in Cup
Report: York, Saturday
54th John Smith's Cup (Heritage Handicap) 1m2½f, 3yo+
WILLIAM HAGGAS celebrated a one-two in one of the most compeitive handicaps in Britain, but it was the lesser fancied Danchai that crossed the line narrowly in front of joint-favourite Stencive.
The one-two completed a memorable couple of races for Haggas after Sun Central trounced his rivals when winning the Listed Silver Cup.
Haggas had bemoaned his luck when Stencive was allotted a wide draw in stall 21 of 22 and the 6-1 shot just failed to reel in his forcefully-ridden stablemate Danchai, who wasn't much better drawn in stall 16.
It was a second winner of the £150,000 handicap in the last three years for Haggas and owners Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar with Green Destiny successful in 2011.
The pace was fair and as the runners fanned out at the top of York's straight there were plenty left with chances.
Jockey Andrea Atzeni found things opening up for him on the inside on Danchai and he seized the initiative, kicking on and asking the rest to catch him.
That constrasted greatly with Graham Lee on Stencive, who had dropped his mount in and had to challenge wide and late.
As the line approached 10-1 chance Danchai was galloping on gamely with Stencive hunting him down only for the line to come before he could get to the front. Tres Coronas was a length back in third with Awake My Soul fourth.
Haggas said: "Every trainer wants to win the John Smith's Cup whether you are from Yorkshire, Ireland, England or Wales. Before today we hadn't had much luck with photographs and poor draws but this makes up for everything.
"It's great to win it for the same owners as my previous winner Green Destiny though I feel sorry for Stencive and his connections as he stayed on all the way to the line and the draw made life difficult for him. This happened to me in the Stewards Cup (2008) when an outsider (King's Apostle) beat my favourite (Conquest)."
Betfred and Paddy Power both cut Danchai to 12-1 (from 20 and 16 respectively) for the Betfred Mile at Glorious Goodwood next month.