The blog’s first ante-post bet of the 2013 flat season will come in Royal Ascot’s very first race, the Queen Anne Stakes. It’s a race that will be dominated by the hype of the American raider Animal Kingdom, a former Kentucky Derby winner. This media frenzy has allowed a number of horses to sneak under the early radar and one horse who looks grossly overpriced is CITYSCAPE. At 20-1 he simply has to be backed as he looks double the price of what he should be. His current sitting in the market is a classic case of recency bias. Roger Charlton’s star miler bombed out on his seasonal reappearance in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. In the race build-up, especially in the immediate pre-race ritual the signs were ominous. In his site blog (www.rogercharlton.com) Charlton stated the following:
“He is quite a lazy worker at home which is not surprising for a seven year old full horse and there is still a bit to work on. Thirteen runners go to post and I assume Aidan O’Brien’s Reply (USA) will ensure a decent pace for Declaration Of War (USA) which should suit Cityscape. Having had so much rain around the country earlier this week I was hoping that the ground at Newbury would have been on the slow side for Cityscape as he prefers to get his toes in.”
Along with the trainer airing on the side of caution Cityscape’s pre-race demeanour wasn’t ideal as he sweated up and took a friendless drift in the market. At one stage he touched 7-1 after being as low as 4s, in the run up to the race.
After jumping from the gate he raced with his head to one side – possibly feeling the ground. I’m also of the opinion his wide draw wasn’t a help as he saw plenty daylight early and couldn’t switch off. James Doyle was squeezing his mount along four out and once Cityscape didn’t pick up he rightfully let him come home in his own time. This bit of judgement from Doyle could prove key as the season progresses.
While his preparation won’t be ideal Cityscape has plenty going for him. Of the current entries he is the joint-second top rated animal, meaning class shouldn’t be an issue. Solid runs behind the likes of Excelebration and Wise Dan are a testament to his ability. Those two animals won’t be lining up so there is an argument to be made he is now Europe’s top miler. Hes certainly to the fore in this genre.
Course form is another variable this son of Selkirk has on his side. While he has yet to win in his four outings here he has hit the frame in all runs. Two of those placed efforts have come behind Excelebration and Canford Cliffs. The latter run coming in a strong renewal of the Queen Anne in 2011.
The main reason for advising a bet here though is the price. As stated above, Cityscape simply shouldn’t be a 20-1 shot. Granted it will be tough to win if he hits the frame it’s the same as a 2-1 winner. That’s value for me and it’s a bet we have a strong chance of landing as his course form states. We may well hit the jackpot and win, but the each-way terms are very much appealing.
Animal Kingdom is the best horse in the race, that I have no doubt in, but he’s priced accordingly. The American raider has yet to prove his effectiveness over a straight mile course however, and there is a strong chance of him encountering the slowest ground of his career which won’t suit. I’m willing to take him on.
Farhh is another horse I’d fear, but there is a strong possibility of him running in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. Even with the above two in Cityscape still has a superb chance of hitting the frame. Furthermore, if Farhh were to take up his other engagement you can be sure the 20-1 about Cityscape won’t last!
Of the remaining entries I can safely say there isn’t one horse I’d fear. Declaration Of War is not the superstar the pre-Lockinge market suggested. Elusive Kate has three lengths to find with Cityscape on their last encounter and has yet to run this season. Andrew Balding’s Side Glance is capable of spoiling the party too if others don’t fire. The rest really don’t look good enough or are on big recovery missions. (I realise this is also the case with Cityscape, but he has proven his ability at the top level)
As ever Ante-Post betting has massive dangers, but I’m willing to take a chance at 20-1. If he hits the frame I’ll be delighted. That said, he holds claims of winning with the market leaders needing to prove their worth/and turn up in this race. Here’s hoping Roger Charlton can get him to Royal Ascot in good form.
2.5pts each-way CITYSCAPE @20-1 (Racebets, Sporting Bet, StanJames)