I always say that the flat season is very much under starters orders at the time of Epsom’s City and Suburban Handicap and we have a fine card from the Derby venue today.
Recent rainfall along with the forecast for more showers ought to point us in the direction of soft ground specialists today and with that in mind Vital Evidence might be the one to be with in the Great Metropolitan Handicap at 2.20. After a few disappointing efforts last season , Sir Michael Stoute’s gelding served notice that testing conditions are very much his forte when he romped home on heavy ground at Windsor last October winning in the manner of a horse who was making up for lost time. On his seasonal debut a couple of weeks ago in the Roseberry at Kempton he was not disgraced running fifth behind a few all-weather specialists who had been in good form over the winter and spring on the artificial surface. That run should have blown the cobwebs away and he is likely to be more at home under today’s conditions.
Moving on, the City and Suburban Handicap is always a cracking contest with this year being no exception.I have a feeling there might be more to com from the likes of Soviet Rock, but I will give the nod to his namesake Rock Choir who appeals as the type who could prove better than her current rating of 94 now that she is a four-year old. In fairness William Haggas filly did not entirely convince last year but she kept good company running in listed races on three occasions. A full sister to Chorist, she comes from a family that progress very well given time and connections often remarked last year that we would not see the best of her until she developed further. Improvement is anticipated this year and she could start her season off well today with hopefully conditions not posing any problems given that she is a daughter of renowned soft ground sire Pivotal.
Finally Chatez might be worth a look in the concluding three-year old handicap.This son of Dandy Man and half-brother to Ghizao shaped respectable as a two-year old winning at Newbury on soft ground on his final start, a performance that was notable for him proving quite strong at the finish despite pulling off a slow pace in the early stages. The form got a nice boost when the runner-up Occupational ran well in decent company at HQ last week and an opening mark of 78 looks exploitable for Chatez.
Epsom 2.20: 1 pt ew VITAL EVIDENCE (15-2, Bet Victor)
Epsom 3.25: 1 pt win ROCK CHOIR (5-1, General)
Epsom 4.35: 1 pt win CHATEZ (5-1, General)
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