Newmarket: Will The Rain Dampen City Of Troy's Dewhurst Show?

City Of Troy |


Newmarket's wet spell would not have been what connections of City Of Troy (Justify) would have wanted, so all credit to “the lads” for their full commitment to running their new “big horse” in Saturday's G1 Native Trail's Dewhurst S. We already know what we are dealing with in terms of talent, with his performance in the G2 Superlative S. an adequate barometer, and luckily we will now get to measure his versatility and character as well with conditions as well as classy peers offering a sticking point.

As with Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) at Doncaster 12 months ago, soft ground will not mean a no-show from the colt that is certain to draw extra numbers to Future Champions Day and Ryan Moore was not too concerned about conditions immediately after steering Ylang Ylang (GB) to glory in the G1 Fillies' Mile. The times on Friday's card suggested good-to-soft was more accurate at that point, but the rain that came after the feature was heavy and relentless so this could be more of a slog then expected.

“He's ready for run and is three weeks down the road from The Curragh and Dean [Gallagher] is very happy with him,” Aidan O'Brien commented. “We've always loved him and he's done everything we've asked of him, so this should be a lovely run to finish off the season and a good experience.”

Soft ground holds no fears for Teme Valley and Ballylinch Stud's G2 Champagne S. winner Iberian (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), who had the subsequent G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere hero Rosallion (Ire) (Blue Point {Ire}) and Listed Star Appeal S. winner Mountain Bear (Ire) (No Nay Never) behind when taking Doncaster's G2 Champagne S. last month. Largely due to the dominance of Irish-trained colts in this race this century, Chaldean (GB) (Frankel {GB}) last year and Too Darn Hot (GB) in 2018 are the only two to complete the Champagne-Dewhurst double since Distant Music in 1999, so Charlie Hills' exciting colt is up against it.

“I was very impressed at Doncaster, like everyone else who was watching him, and he showed a good turn of foot which is what you need over seven in a Group 1,” Iberian's jockey Tom Marquand said. “There have obviously been Group 1 winners behind him, albeit on different ground. We've only seen City Of Troy on a racecourse twice and he's off a three-month absence since the Superlative. While he was impressive in that, if ever there is a day to take on a horse like that, this is it. Circumstances are probably as in our favour as they can be and I'm looking forward to it.”

Given how well Shadwell's Alyanaabi (Ire) (Too Darn Hot {GB}) operated on the fast going prevalent for last month's G3 Tattersalls S., this shift underfoot has to be a question mark as it is for the G3 Acomb S. winner Indian Run (Ire) (Sioux Nation) and Prince Faisal bin Khaled and Najd Stud's TDN Rising Star Eben Shaddad (Calyx {GB}), who hardly looked a stout stayer over course and distance when third in the Tattersalls. Juddmonte's Array (Ire) (No Nay Never) handled heavy when edging the six-furlong G2 Mill Reef S. at Newbury, but these are far deeper waters and stamina is not guaranteed.

Owen Burrows said of Alyanaabi, “I felt he had to quicken at a few stages in the Group 3 last time. I'm not concerned if there is lack of pace in the race as this horse has won over six furlongs. He is pretty versatile. We always felt he was this level and the fact I pitched him in a listed race on his second start instead of going for a novice race under a penalty suggested that.”


More Autumn Offerings?

While the celebrated half-siblings Nashwan and Nayef and fellow class act Dr Fong captured the Autumn S. in its former guise as a listed contest at Ascot, it was not until the mile juvenile contest was shifted to Newmarket and upped to Group 3 status that it really took on an extra dimension. Since 2017, Godolphin's Dubawi luminaries Ghaiyyath (Ire) and Coroebus (Ire) and the Fabre A-lister Persian King (Ire) (Kingman {GB}) have graced its honour roll so this is always a race to take seriously.

Charlie Appleby has found another son of Dubawi to bid for a fourth consecutive edition and fifth since 2017 for the stable and a fifth in a row for Godolphin, with Military March (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) successful for Saeed bin Suroor in 2019. Not seen since finishing third in the Listed Pat Eddery S. on the King George card in July, Ancient Wisdom (Fr) becomes the latest to represent the form of that deep contest and his trainer is happy he is at a peak for this. “Ancient Wisdom has done very well for a break since Ascot,” he said. “I felt he lost little in defeat that day, as seven furlongs was on the sharp side and he was still learning. He has done very well since physically and it was always the plan to give him some time off ahead of an autumn campaign. His work has been good and he should handle testing conditions if the rain does come. We feel that he will be a strong player.”

Stamina will also be of concern to Aidan O'Brien, who puts forward the G2 Beresford S. runner-up Chief Little Rock (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), while Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum's TDN Rising Star Arabic Legend (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) also looks likely to relish a soft-ground mile test given the way he won on debut over seven furlongs at the July Festival here and finished second in Salisbury's Listed Stonehenge S. over this trip in August. Another big player is the Gredleys' Ambiente Friendly (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}), who was a notable first-time winner for the James Fanshawe not renowned for big debut efforts when impressive over seven at Leicester last month.


Arabian Crown The One To Beat In The Zetland

Completing the trio of juvenile pattern races on the Future Champions Day card is the G3 Ghaiyyath Zetland S., where another of Appleby's Dubawi projects Arabian Crown (Fr) is likely to start at prohibitive odds. His defeat of aforementioned Arabic Legend in the Stonehenge gives him the form edge over some intriguing rivals including Ballydoyle's Curragh maiden winner Gasper De Lemos (Ire) (Justify) and Chasemore Farm's Sandown debut scorer Dambuster (GB) (Kingman {GB}) from the Andrew Balding stable.

“Arabian Crown brings a nice profile into this,” commented Appleby, who has won the last two editions with similar types. “He has a pedigree and running style that suggests stepping up to a mile and a quarter will produce further improvement, so he should be very competitive.”

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