Cityscape won't be hampered by the rain with plenty of form on soft goingPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Doyle predicts top-three finish for Cityscape
CITYSCAPE was one of several horses cut for the Coral-Eclipse on Wednesday, with jockey James Doyle believing the Group 1 winner will be helped towards a first-three finish by ease in the ground.
The going at Sandown was changed to good, good to firm in places on Wednesday, from good to firm, good in places, and clerk of the course Andrew Cooper told the Racing Post the surface could ride on the slow side of good by Saturday, though the weather forecast is mixed and that is a worst-case scenario.
Cityscape, who was the headline tip by the in-form Paul Kealy in this week's Weekender, was cut to 10-1 (from 12) by the sponsor and will bid to put a below-par run in Hong Kong behind him over a longer trip this weekend, having previously stormed home to win the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free at Meydan on World Cup day.
Doyle said: "It's his first run at a mile and a quarter, and Sandown is quite a stiff track, so there has to be a question mark. However, he relaxes so well in his races, and certainly wasn't stopping at the end in Dubai [1m1f].
"It's a good race, featuring some good horses with proven Group 1-winning form, but if I can get him nice and relaxed I'd be hopeful of finishing in the first three."
Doyle added: "He does act well with some give in the ground. I'm very much looking forward to the race."
While showers are forecast for the rest of the week, Cooper does not expect conditions to be really testing on Saturday. He said on Wednesday: "We had some rain on Monday night, which has eased the going a bit, but it is no worse than good.
"If we had raced today it would have been good, with some good to firm places. We have had 11mm in the last 48 hours, which I'm very happy about - we'd have been pretty quick without it.
"The outlook for the rest of the week remains unsettled, but it's guesswork as to how much rain we will get. At the lower end of the scale we might not see a great deal. I would say that we'll be just on the slow side of good at worst on Saturday."
Also among the market movers for the £400,000 showpiece was Godolphin's Farhh, who would definitely prefer ease in the ground. He was trimmed to 7-2 (from 4) by Betfred and BetVictor.
Bonfire was also popular and was cut by several firms, though the Andrew Balding-trained Derby disappointment was still available at 12-1 with Ladbrokes and Blue Square on Wednesday evening.