Coral-Eclipse Preview: Horse-by-horse guide to the Sandown Group 1
Nick Murphy | 3 July 2018
We look ahead to Saturday’s renewal
A star-studded field is set to contest Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse at Sandown. Up to 10 runners are currently pencilled in to face the 1m 2f test, which has been run since 1886.
Among the ante-post hopefuls this year are 2,000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior and shock Epsom Derby victor Masar. They’ll go head-to-head for the bulk share of the £750,000 prize fund, up 50% from last year’s total of £500,000.
It looks set to be an exciting renewal over 10 furlongs. And the Coral News Team are on hand to bring you the key info on every runner ahead of the race.
Charlie Appleby’s Epsom Derby winner is the ante-post favourite. The three-year-old landed the fourth Classic of the season by just over a length from Dee Ex Bee thanks to a masterful ride from William Buick.
He reversed placings with Saxon Warrior that day after coming up short to the Aidan O’Brien-trained star in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. The step back in trip should prove no problem.
Beaten three times by Masar already this season, including in the Craven Stakes, 2,000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby. John Gosden’s star did blitz the field in the Dante Stakes at York, however, suggesting that this could be his optimum trip.
On that showing, the Kitten’s Joy colt has the turn of foot to lay down a serious challenge at Sandown.
The most likely Ballydoyle runner of the five kept in at Monday’s five-day declaration stage. Beat Masar as a two-year-old in the Prix Jean-Luc and has gone close in the 1,000 Guineas, Irish 1,000 Guineas and Prix de Diane since.
Yet to take on the boys as a three-year-old but has shaped well over the distance for Aidan O’Brien.
Unlikely the 2,000 Guineas winner will run with the Juddmonte International around the corner but has been left in at the six-day declaration stage. Must step back up to the plate after two disappointing performances in the Epsom Derby and the Irish Derby.
A reduction in trip could be what’s required after failing to prove his class over the 1m 4f distance.
Richard Fahey’s hopefully is two from two as a four-year-old with victories in the Earl of Sefton Stakes and the Huxley Stakes. The son of Lawman deserves his shot in the Eclipse but will need to find more than ever before in elite company.
Cliffs of Moher
Went off as the 7/4 favourite in the Coral-Eclipse last season but could only finish fourth. The son of Galileo has won just once in nine attempts since that defeat and recently came up short twice inside a week at Royal Ascot.
Both of those runs were admirable although his performance in the Hardwicke suggested extra distance could benefit the four-year-old more than a reduction in trip. Now making his seventh attempt to land a maiden Group 1 race.
Won the Coral-Eclipse in 2016 for Godolphin but has disappointed on these shores since. Back-to-back victories at Meydan in March suggests his future could lay overseas, especially after heavy distance defeats in the Coronation Cup and Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
The veteran of the field didn’t shape well in either of those races and will need to pull something out of the bag to mount a challenge at Sandown. Could yet be scratched from the line-up.
Richard Hannon’s colt is comfortably the most inexperienced hopeful in the field with only two runs under his belt. He won on debut before finishing runner-up to Loxley (stablemate of Masar) at Newmarket last time out.
This could be too much too soon.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing