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Coral Eclipse tips for July's Group 1 race. One of the first opportunities to gauge the classic generation against their elders, the 2018 Coral Eclipse promises to be another fascinating renewal. Read on for our free betting tips, predictions and analysis.
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Named after one of the most famous horses to ever grace a racecourse, the Eclipse Stakes has been a mainstay of the Sandown flat season ever since the inaugural running in 1886. At the time it was the most valuable race run in Britain and while that is no longer the case, it is one of the first opportunities to properly gauge the Classic Generation against their elders.
At this early stage, the ante-post favourite is John Gosden’s Roaring Lion, who was an impressive winner of the Dante Stakes two starts ago at York. He kept on stoically to finish a brave third in the Epsom Derby on his latest start, travelling well but just unable to quicken in the final furlong. With the turn of foot he showed at York two starts ago, a drop back to this distance looks to be a big positive. The Sandown Hill will provide a stiff finish and that should only suit this son of Kitten’s Joy, who continues to progress with each run. John Gosden has won two of the past six renewals and looks to have another leading chance.
He will, however, need to reverse form with the Epsom Derby winner Masar, if Charlie Appleby decides to snub the Irish Derby in favour for a drop in distance. Third in the 2000 Guineas over the mile, he relished a step up in distance to clinch the Derby by one and a half lengths. Always seen travelling supremely well in mid-division, he showed a powerful turn of foot when ridden at the furlong marker to put himself clear of his rivals. A horse with plenty of tactical speed, he shouldn’t be fazed by a drop back in distance and the stiff finish at Sandown will help his finishing effort. As previously mentioned, the Irish Derby is also on his radar, so you’ll need to be listening closely to Appleby’s interviews before making a final decision.
Perhaps the biggest disappointing of the Derby Festival was Aidan O’Brien’s Saxon Warrior, who arrived to the Derby on the back of an impressive 2000 Guineas return a month prior. Going beyond the mile for the first time proved too much for him as despite being sent off the 4/5 favourite, he could only finish fourth in the Epsom showpiece. He travelled well throughout the contest and although he was blocked in at a crucial stage, he had plenty of time to pick up if good enough. A drop back in trip on that evidence should suit, given how he travelled through the Derby and the speed he quite clearly possesses. The main question mark though is whether he takes the start, as he’s the current ante-post favourite for the Irish Derby, which is another potential target.
He made very hard work of it, but Cracksman scrambled home to make it three Group 1 victories on the bounce, winning the Coronation Cup at Epsom on his latest outing. Winner of last year’s Champion Stakes at Ascot in perhaps the most impressive performance of the season, he clearly hated every moment of his latest start. The undulations at Epsom didn’t help matters and he reportedly hit his head just before the stalls opened, so plenty went wrong that day. He handles any surface and is tactically versatile, which are both assuring qualities. All roads for him point to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October but like so many in the ante-post market, his participation is far from assured here.
Progressive earlier in the season, it is far too early to be giving up on Addeybb just yet. A very easy winner of the Lincoln at Doncaster on return in March, he built on that effort with an impressive victory in the bet365 Mile at this venue in April. His run in the Lockinge at Newbury on his latest outing was disappointing, but the firmer ground that day is a viable excuse for such a poor performance. He’s very interesting upped in distance to 1m 2f, not disgraced over this trip at Goodwood as a three-year-old when third in a competitive handicap. He’s improved since and should see it out much better on this occasion. As long as there is no ‘firm’ in the going description, he’s one to consider for the 2013 winning trainer.
Runner-up in three Group 1 contests, Poet’s Word has been banging on the door at the highest level in recent outings. Second in the Irish Champion Stakes and Ascot Champion Stakes last season, he returned this campaign with a very respectable second in the Sheema Classic out in Meydan over 1m 4f. He was a course and distance winner on his British return in May, winning the Brigadier Gerard Stakes in ready fashion. A strong stayer who clearly relished the stiff test that Sandown provides, he handles any conditions, though a strong suspicion would be that softer ground would give him a greater chance. He does look exposed compared to some improving rivals, but he’s consistent at this level and is unlikely to be far away.
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