Cliffs Can Eclipse His Rivals

The Coral Eclipse (Saturday 8 July) is a prestigious Group 1 Race run at Sandown over 10-furlongs. It was first introduced into the English racing calendar in 1886, when the first prize was the biggest in racing. That isn’t the case today, but the winner will still win around £300,000.

Trends

  • 5 Horses have won the race twice
  • Aidan O’Brien has trained 5 of the last 17 winners
  • This century’s 17 renewals have been won by six 3-year-olds, five 4-year-olds, and six 5-year-olds
  • The odds of the last 10 winners have ranged from 4/7 to 7/1

This Season’s Major Contenders

Cliffs Of Moher

This year’s Derby runner-up lost little in defeat in the Derby, and just seemed to get outstayed over 12-furlongs by his stablemate Wings Of Eagles. However, he was the choice of stable jockey Ryan Moore there, and was sent-off the shortest-priced runner from the Aidan O’Brien Stable. A return to 10-furlongs, a trip he impressed over when winning the Dee Stakes, looks the right move at this stage of his career, and Aidan O’Brien has trained five previous winners of the Eclipse this century.

Barney Roy

Having won this year’s St James’s Palace Stakes, he could bid to follow last year’s winner Hawkbill by winning at Royal Ascot before winning this. However, he would be stepping-up in trip to 10-furlongs for the first time after previously being successful at 7-furlongs and a mile, and his sire Excelebration excelled over those shorter distances.

Eminent

Impressed when winning his first two races over a mile, and wasn’t suited by a slowly run race when only sixth in the 2,000 Guineas, 2-lengths behind the runner-up Barney Roy. He then improved to be fourth in the Derby, where he was 1-length behind the runner-up Cliffs Of Moher.

Highland Reel

One of the highest-rated older horses in training, and proved his ability to win over 10-furlongs in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. Would have a good chance if turning up, but may be saved for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot later in July, which is over his optimum trip of 12-furlongs.

Churchill

The winner of this year’s English 2,000 Guineas and Irish 2,000 Guineas ran below par at Royal Ascot, and it seems connections are more likely to give him a rest until the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, rather than step him up in trip here.

Cracksman

Ran well to be third in the Derby having had just two runs, and it could be that 10-furlongs proves his optimum trip. However, connections are reportedly going to run him in the Irish Derby, which suggests he’s unlikely to take up his entry here.

Decorated Knight

Still improving at the age of 5, and ran well to be second over this trip at Royal Ascot in a Group 1. Trainer won this in 2013 with a similar type, and he looks to have a solid each-way chance.

Hawkbill

Bids to become the sixth horse two win two Eclipses, something his owner’s last did with Halling in 1995/1996. However, he’s looked like he needs 12-furlongs this year, and would only be of interest if the ground came up soft.

Ulysses

Proved himself over this course and distance when winning the Group 3 Gordon Richard Stakes earlier in the season, but finished just behind Decorated Knight at Royal Ascot. Another with each-way possibilities.

Mutakayyef

Ran a fantastic race to be second behind Ribchester at Royal Ascot over a mile, but has recorded just 1 win from 6 attempts over this distance. He would also be the first 6-year-old to win this race since Bendigo won the inaugural running in 1886.

Summary

The first thing to consider when trying to pick the winner of the Eclipse is always the quality of the 3-year-olds, as the Classic Generation get a nice weight allowance from their elders. Therefore, as this year’s Derby form has already been boosted by Royal Ascot wins for the fifth-placed Benbatl and the tenth placed Permian, the 3-year-olds could enjoy a significant advantage. Eminent must have an each-way chance having finished fourth in the Derby but, with trainer Aidan O’Brien knowing what it takes to win this race, Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher is fancied to uphold the form with Eminent, and confirm that this season’s 3-year-olds are a decent crop.
Tip: Cliffs Of Moher

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