Saturday sees the Eclipse Stakes being run at Sandown with a small but high quality field going to post. More commonly known as the Coral Eclipse, the race was first run in 1886 and is a Group 1 contest run over 1m 2f. Historically the Eclipse attracts a high-class field with classic winners regularly featuring and this year is no different with Epsom Derby winner Golden Horn looking to follow-up his recent Epsom success. Five runners look likely to take their chances on Saturday and aim to join the list of past winners such as Dancing Brave, Giants Causeway and Sea the Stars.
This years field is headed by the John Gosden trained Golden Horn and he is currently a best price of 4/11 as he looks to become the fifth winning favourite in the past 10 years. Kevin Ryan’s The Grey Gatsby is the 7/2 second favourite as he looks to get back winning ways after an unlucky defeat at Royal Ascot last time out. Aidan O’Brien is represented by Cougar Mountain who is currently a 12/1 chance as he steps up to 1m 2f for the first time. John Gosden also has Western Hymn entered and he is a best price 16/1. The last of the five current runners is the Andrew Balding trained Tullius, who is the outsider of the field at 80/1.
Some key trends have appeared in the race over the last 10 years and are worth focussing on:
All five expected runners have raced in the past 30 days, with Golden Horn being the only horse with winning form in that run. The key trend of Group 1 winning form would appear to be critical and only two of the five have this – Golden Horn and The Grey Gatsby. Golden Horn won the Derby last time out for his first Group 1 success and The Grey Gatsby enjoyed double Group 1 success last year winning the Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. Both Golden Horn and The Grey Gatsby are also likely to fall under the trend of being in the first four in the betting, with them being the current ante-post favourite and second favourite. They again both fall under the last trend of having won over 1m 2f or further. Golden Horn won over 1m 2f when taking the Dante at York in May before stepping up to 1m 4f for Derby success. The Grey Gatsby has won over 1m 2f on three occasions, including both his Group 1 successes.
The trends point to this years Eclipse being a battle between the front two in the betting as Golden Horn puts his undefeated record on the line against the more experienced The Grey Gatsby. With winning form over varying distances Golden Horn should have no problem with the step down in trip as he looks to further enhance his status. The Grey Gatsby ran over 1m 2f last time out at Royal Ascot, going down a short head. This was his first run over 1m 2f since his Irish Champion Stakes success so it would appear that 1m 2f is his preferred distance and with a small field Kevin Ryan will be hoping for a good run. Of the other runners, Cougar Mountain is perhaps the most interesting. Facing the 1m 2f trip for the first time, connections will be hoping that the step up in trip could be the key to Cougar Mountain and perhaps give owner Sue Magnier a record-breaking sixth Eclipse winner.