Found a little time today to look at the City and Suburban, another of those traditional spring handicaps that’s been around for many a long year!
Epsom 15.50 Cl 2 Hcap 311 (102) 10f gd/sf – 10 Run
Last year – 280 (102) gd 11 ran
Brorocco 7/1 4-8-4 (85) Dr 10 by 1l from Banditry 13/2 5-8-10 (91) Dr 11
Thundering Blue 5-8-12 (93) Dr 1
30 Sep Cl 2 Hcap (1000 u) 9f gd/sf Nwmk 6/1 F 3.75l 7/34 off 93
raced far side, held up towards rear, headway and wandered over 1f out, kept on inside final furlong, not reach leaders
Unraced as 2yo and didn’t set the world on fire as a 3yo, but after gelding between seasons got untracked as a 4yo, finally getting off the mark over C&D here in similar ground conditions in July; continued to improve and completed hat-trick with Cl 2 wins at Newmarket and Sandown before closing out the season by finishing a respectable 7/34 when favourite for the Cambridgeshire; makes season return today off the same mark with conditions very much in his favour.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (C); form run lto;
Minus: 207-day break;
Verdict: (54) fitness the only question, but coming from the highest class race lto has to be considered a contender.
Ajman King 4-8-12 (93) Dr 2
27 Oct Cl 3 3yo Hcap (80 u) 10f gd/sf Donc 13/8 F 3.25l 1/10 off 85
tracked leader, led over 1f out, clear entering final furlong, eased towards finish, comfortable
Just the 2 starts as a 2yo and didn’t reappear as a 3yo until finishing runner-up in a Salisbury mdn last September; got off the mark over C&D here in a mdn the following month beating Dash Of Spice (0) by 2l and followed up on his hcap bow in similar ground to today when setting another career best at Doncaster towards the end of the month; starts this season off an 8lbs higher mark as he rises in class, but has the scope to make his mark as a 4yo.
Plus: going (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto; career best lto;
Minus: class (?); up 8lbs; up in class; 180-day break;
Verdict: (49) showed plenty last season and scope for improvement on only his sixth start, a contender.
Contango 4-8-12 (93) Dr 7
12 Aug Cl 3 3yo Hcap (220 u) 12f gd/sf Ascot 2/1 F 0.5l 2/10 off 92
tracked leader, led over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, kept on, headed towards finish
Unraced as 2yo, but won his first 3 starts as a 3yo at up to 10f before just going down when raised to 12f in a Cl 3 at Ascot in mid-August in yet another career best effort; all his starts on gd/sf or softer, so conditions should suit and while he starts this season off 1lb higher mark, has bags of scope for improvement.
Plus: going (W); distance (W); trainer (C); form run lto; career best lto;
Minus: class (?); course (?); 256-day break; up in class;
Verdict: (45) has scope for improvement up in class, conditions suit, plus stable has won 2 of the last 3 renewals, a contender.
Dubai Horizon 4-9-2 (97) Dr 6
07 May Cl 3 3yo Hcap (100 u) 10f gd/fm Nwmk 15/2 0.25l 2/9 off 85
keen with leader, led approaching 2f out, ridden and headed inside final furlong, ran on
Runner-up over 7f on both his starts as a 2yo, was gelded between seasons and got his 3yo career off to a quick start by taking a 10f mdn on the AW at Lingfield last April; put up another career best on his hcap debut but just went down over 10f at Newmarket in early May and has been off the course since; stable is in fine form and obviously he can go well fresh, but has been raised 12lbs, plus is coming back from almost a year layoff, and his 2 turf starts have been on gd and gd/sf.
Plus: distance (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto; career best lto;
Minus: class (?); going (?); course (?); up 12lbs; up in class; 353-day break;
Verdict: (34) obviously has potential, but today a contender with questions having his first start in almost a year.
Anythingtoday 4-9-3 (98) Dr 4
12 Apr Cl 2 Hcap (160 d) 10f AW Chelm 4/1 4l 5/9 off 98
in touch, headway over 1f out, ridden and no extra inside final furlong
Improved form when winning 2 of his 8 starts as a 3yo when with Hugo Palmer; moved to the O’Meara yard between seasons but unlike many that do, failed to win on his debut for his new connections, possibly needing the run at Chelmsford a fortnight ago; entitled to come on for that and could be fancied on his effort when 3/19 to Brorocco at Newbury in September off only 1lb lower mark; stable not really going full bore as yet, but cheek-pieces have been refitted today.
Plus: class (F); going (W); distance (W); trainer (C); recent outing (13 days);
Minus: course (?);
Verdict: (32) question of whether cheek-pieces will spark a return to Newbury form, but not the strongest contender today perhaps.
A race that in recent years has been the province of 4yos, although there have been a couple of 5yo winners in the past decade. However, the weights have been pretty widespread while it’s been won by both season returners and those with a run already under the belts. The fact that a top 4 finish in one of the last 2 starts has figured on 8/10 occasions perhaps explains why there have been no winners at longer than 14/1 during that period, and while 6/10 were drawn from stalls 2 to 6, there’s not a lot of help there in a smallish field.
Looking at my shortlist, meanwhile, the first ones to go are Dubai Horizon and Anythingtoday, both of which look like contenders with questions today, particularly Dubai Horizon ff a 12lbs higher mark. Of the remaining trio, Thundering Blue comes from the best race lto, but he may need a race or two to get going, and thus I’m inclined to look at the other two, Ajman King and Contango. Not much between them, but we know the Balding yard likes to win this and Contango can go well fresh, so perhaps Contango from Ajman King with Thundering Blue holding off Anythingtoday for third place.
Any comments on today's racing. Please don't just put in selections ... please add some reason why you think a runner will win
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