Cityscape winning the Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Meydan in MarchPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Cityscape seeks more success on his travels
Preview: Canada, Sunday 10.42pm (live on ATR)
Woodbine: Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Grade 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+
DUBAI DUTY FREE winner Cityscape crosses the Atlantic on Sunday as he chases another lucrative prize in the $1 million Woodbine Mile, where he is joined by British-trained compatriots Worthadd and Dance And Dance.
However, US-trained Wise Dan is sure to start favourite after a number of impressive efforts in top company on various surfaces - and the market leader even gets 3lb from top-weight Cityscape because, though he has won four of his last five, he has yet to score in Grade 1 company this term.
Having been tried over 1m2f in the Coral-Eclipse, Cityscape (Roger Charlton/James Doyle) was a fine second to Excelebration last time out in the Jacques le Marois.
Worthadd (Sir Mark Prescott/Luis Contreras) and Dance And Dance (Ed Vaughan/Garrett Gomez) join Cityscape in Toronto but Wise Dan (Charles Lopresti/John Velazquez), who has won ten of his 17 career starts, is favourite with British bookmakers.
A versatile gelding with Graded-stakes winning form on dirt and all-weather as well as turf, Wise Dan recorded the highest Racing Post Rating achieved by any US-trained horse in 2011 by virtue of an emphatic victory in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in November.
That was on dirt, but he has won two of his three starts on grass as well, including last time out when he scored by five lengths on yielding turf in the Grade 2 Fourstardave at Saratoga a month ago.
"I do think he is better on synthetic and grass but he's pretty good on the dirt as well - and an off [soft] track," said Lopresti, who won this last year with Turallure.
Best of the five-strong Canadian-based team may be Big Band Sound, a former claimer who won a Grade 2 event over 7f here in August over Sunday's rival Riding The River, himself a dual Grade 2 winner at this venue. Turf debutant Hunter's Bay is unbeaten in four starts on the Woodbine Polytrack.
What they say
David Cotey, trainer of Riding The River
"He's a small horse but he's got a big heart. He's been in tight spots, tough situations, yet he still manages to find a way to gut it out. It doesn't always make it easy on the blood pressure, but I'll tell you this, you wish you had 20 of him in your barn."
Ed Vaughan, trainer of Dance And Dance
"Last year when he came sixth was very frustrating. He's always been a slow breaker, and a late finisher, and he just had nowhere to run. Every time he switched left he was blocked. Considering they went a good pace, he ended up being a bit of a muddle at the end. Had he got out, we might have been lucky enough to win."
Charles Lopresti, trainer of Wise Dan
"I'm okay with the gate [drawn three]. I'm glad we didn't get the one hole and I wouldn't want to be all the way on the outside either. Johnny said to me when you get that horse covered up, he's a lot better and he relaxes. He is pretty good on dirt but I do think he is better on synthetic and grass."
Roger Charlton, trainer of Cityscape
"Wise Dan will be tough to beat and because he hasn't won a Group 1 this year he receives weight. Otherwise, though, we are justified in being second favourite and I think that running around a turn suits him better than racing on straight tracks.
"He obviously ran a fantastic race at Meydan and in many ways, Woodbine is a similarly shaped track with a long straight and sweeping turns."