Horses To Follow » Cityscape


Cityscape looked like a high class performer when he ran out an impressive winner of the Group 2 Nayef Joel Stakes at Newmarket last Friday. Settled just behind the leaders in the early stages by Steve Drowne, Cityscape travelled well, and picked up really impressively on the near side a furlong and a half out when his rider asked him to, coming right away from his field to win by seven lengths in the end.

It was a strange day at Newmarket on Friday, the ground was taxing and winning distances were amplified (the average winning distance was 6.7 lengths), but it is difficult to believe that Cityscape was not the best horse in the Joel Stakes by some way. Also, he made his challenge on the near side on a day when the far rail was almost certainly the fastest part of the track.

This was a good race, genuinely up to Group 3 standard. Runner-up Penitent won the Lincoln on his debut this season, and came into Friday’s race on a high after landing a good listed race at Sandown on his previous run, while fourth-placed Tamaathul had split subsequent Challenge Cup first and second Redford (who had won the Ayr Gold Cup on his subsequent run) and Side Glance at Chester on his previous run. Also, the time of the race was good, the fastest comparative time on a day that included two Group 1 juvenile races. Drowne said after the race that Cityscape became a little unbalanced going down into the dip, that the easy ground helped him a lot in that regard, which makes a lot of sense, given that he disappointed quite badly in last year’s Guineas behind Sea The Stars over this course and distance on fast ground. He probably jarred himself up on the ground that day, with the result that we didn’t see him again until this April, almost a year later.

Roger Charlton’s patience may be rewarded now. Cityscape has raced just nine times in his life now, and he can continue to progress and he may be even better suited to a flatter track. He probably does need cut in the ground to be seen at his best, and he will be of interest if he races again before the end of the season, which is quite likely given his ground preference and the fact that he has raced just four times this term. Charlton mentioned the Group 3 Prix Perth at Saint-Cloud as a possibility, a race in which the trainer sent out Border Patrol to finish second last year.

By Selkirk, there is every chance that Cityscape will continue to improve as he gets older, and he is an exciting horse for next year.

1st October 2010

© The Irish Field, 9th October 2010