Al Kazeem heads final field of seven for Coral Eclipse
As expected, Camelot was the only horse withdrawn at the final declaration stage for Saturday’s Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown. Trainer Aiden O’Brien will rely on Queen Anne Stakes winner Declaration of War and St James’s Palace Stakes third Mars as he seeks a sixth victory in the race.
Joseph O’Brien rides Declaration Of War whilst Ryan Moore steps in to partner Mars. The decision to run his Ascot winner caused a shake up in the betting market yesterday as the colt was introduced as 7-2 second favourite.
Mars is the only three-year-old in the field and should give a good indication of the strength of this year’s classic generation. He has run respectably in the 2000 Guineas, the Derby and again at Royal Ascot and connections are optimistic that a mile and a quarter will prove to be his ideal trip.
Al Kazeem remains a solid favourite and will be bidding to confirm the Ascot form with runner-up Mukhadram and third placed The Fugue. Roger Charlton had originally thought that the Eclipse may come a bit too soon but confirmed that his colt was in fine form on Thursday morning.
The field is completed by German raider Pastorius (Olivier Peslier) and Miblish (Richard Hughes). With no obvious pacemaker, the scene is set for Paul Hanagan to repeat his front-running tactics on Mukhadram.
Connections have already indicated that they will be happy for Hanagan to force the pace on their long-striding colt who gave a career-best performance at the Royal meeting. John Gosden’s The Fugue is the only filly in the race and will be bidding to become the first of her sex to win the race since Kooyonga in 1992.
Last year’s Musidora and Nassau Stakes winner has around four lengths to make up on Ascot form but that was her first appearance of the season and she is expected to come on for the run. Stable jockey William Buick takes the ride with the race due off at 3.50pm.