Eclipse day at Sandown opens with a seven furlong handicap confined to three year olds. Read on for our expert tip and runner by runner preview for the race.
IN SUMMARY: Mojito looks set to go off favourite here, but having only finished third in both his handicaps so far from this mark, it’s hard to tell exactly why he is so short. Kreb’s Cycle would be interesting for a canny yard if the step up in trip and return to better ground suits him but MAZYOUN looks the one to beat. He went straight into the notebook last time at York in a far deeper race than this and he can take full advantage of the drop in grade to score.
1 MAZYOUN – Yet to win in eight tries on turf, but produced a career best last time out at York. He was given an awful lot to do from a long way back in a far deeper contest than this. Dropped in grade and back in his own age group, this stiffer seven furlongs on similarly quick ground can see him get his head deservedly in front.
2 SULTAN BAYBARS – Shaped with credit in the Horris Hill when fitted with a hood last autumn, but the same headgear failed to work the charm again when well seen off at Royal Ascot. This is a drop in grade and first time blinkers are always an interesting addition, but he may find that this good to firm ground a little quick for him.
3 PROST – A little disappointing on his debut, he has shown improved form the last twice in France, firstly on the all weather and then on a soft surface. The form of the most recent outing at Saint Cloud hasn’t worked out well, so he’s difficult to support on his handicap debut without any concrete evidence of the feasibility of this mark on quick ground.
4 FIREFRIGHT – Belatedly off the mark in a Doncaster maiden in April, ending a frustrating run of placed efforts. He failed to back that up on Oaks day at Epsom when well supported, but he never looked happy on the track so that is easily forgiven and he is respected from the same mark in this contest.
5 ZEFFERINO – Turned over at 8/15 on his debut, but that run on good to firm remains his best. He got his head in front for the first time in a Lingfield maiden in May but his handicap debut last time suggested that the drop back to seven furlongs here would not be in his favour, so he is difficult to fancy.
6 MOJITO – Was a 1/2 winning favourite when landing his maiden on the Newcastle Tapeta surface, placed on both firm and soft ground since off the same mark as this. The form of those races has worked out no better than fairly with just a single winner from ten subsequent runners at time of writing. Deserves plenty of respect on a stiffer track, but he is plenty short enough on what he has actually done.
7 TAI SING YEH – Behind Mojito at Haydock two runs ago, he ran no more than respectably at Goodwood last time. Looks to have a stiff task with the favourite to reverse that six and a half length beating so is readily passed over.
8 ALMOREB – Failed to stay a mile at this track last time out, dropping from second to fourth in the last half furlong, suggesting that better will be forthcoming now back over seven. He began the season winning at Newbury on soft ground, but by Raven’s Pass this quicker surface should hold no fears. Boasts a solid each way chance, though this is a step up in class.
9 KREB’S CYCLE – The most exposed runner in the field, he is yet to reproduce his smart juvenile form as a three year old. His best run of 2016 came behind a pair now rated 108 and 99 (85 and 81 at the time, this horse off 84) over this trip on quick ground at Newmarket. A return to this seven furlongs on good to firm may just unlock the key to his undoubted ability.
10 ARIENA – Impressive in her demolition of a Chepstow maiden last year, she shaped with plenty of promise on her 2017 return when fourth at Lingfield. She kept up the gallop all the way to the line over that six furlong trip as if an extra furlong would suit her but, going from a sharp six to such a stiff seven does put a big question mark next to her stamina.