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Coral Eclipse Preview

Morning all,

Inside today’s main piece I preview Saturday’s big race the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown. Plus, there’s two for the tracker and a Wednesday selection from….

Eyecatchers

Recent eyecatcher’s keep popping up. The latest was Raatea (11/2) at Newcastle on Saturday. This week I have two for the tracker who both ran at Newcastle’s Plate meeting.

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Count D'orsay – Tim Easterby

Friday’s Gosforth Park Sprint (Handicap) produced a smart and decisive winner in City Walk. Although the race did a hard luck story in Count D'orsay who had been slightly unluck in the run the previous season. The 6-year-old was making headway when not getting a run just inside the final furlong before finishing a 3 ½ length 6th of 14. He wouldn’t have beaten the winner even with a clear run but could have finished second. His losing run goes back to September 2020 and now stands at 23 but he’s run well off higher mark than 95 and won’t go up after this effort. Soft, good to soft ground suits him on turf and he can win when all the cards fall right.

Summer’s Knight – Sir Mark Prescott

Summer’s Knight ran much better than on his seasonal reappearance. Doing best of those coming from the rear when a 3 ½ length 5th of 15 to Trueshan in Saturday’s Northumberland Plate. The Sir Mark Prescott horses haven’t hit top gear yet. Well placed last season winning five times between June & September. Winning form on turf has come on good or quicker ground but showed he handles cut in the ground when 2nd of 11 at Haydock last summer. Needs the emphasis on stamina and showed he can be effective over 2m this season. The 4-year-old remains a staying handicapper to keep onside in the coming weeks.

Looking ahead to the weekend

It’s Group 1 action at Sandown with centre stage the Coral-Eclipse (3:35). The race represents the first clash of the generations in Britain with the 3-year-old’s taking on the older horses at Group 1 level.

Besides the Group 1 action at Sandown there’s also a potentially good card at Haydock on Saturday. The highlights of a seven race are card are the Group 2 bet365 Lancashire Oaks (2:40) and the bet365 Old Newton Cup Handicap (3:15).  More on that meeting in Thursday’s column.

Coral-Eclipse – Sandown

There are small amounts of rain forecast for Sandown this week. The track has been watering and the going is being described as good, good to firm in places. If, and it’s a big IF, this is Britain after all, the weather forecasts prove correct it’s hard to see the going changing too much before Saturday.

On Course Profits free Horse Racing magazine

Since 1971 some great racehorses have won the Eclipse. They include the likes of Mill Reef. Brigadier Gerard, Pebbles, Dancing Brave, Nashwan, Sea The Stars, Golden Horn, Enable. Last year’s winner St Mark’s Basilica gave Aidan O’Brien a sixth win in the race.

Trends

The last fourteen winners of the race passed the following trends:

Age: 3yo to 5yo.

Odds SP: 14/1 & under.

Finished in the first five LTO.

Won or was beaten no more than 5 lengths LTO.

Eleven were left in at Monday’s five-day confirmation stage and it’s shaping up to be the race of the season so far.

Here are the main contenders:

I was impressed with Vadeni’s win in the Prix Du Jockey Club (French Derby). He looked high class that day. As expected, he’s been supplemented for Saturday’s Group 1 Coral Eclipse but would be a worthy favourite should he run.

Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Native Trail is interestingon his step up 1m 2f. I have still to be convinced that he want’s 1m 2f. He won here on his juvenile racecourse debut so no issues with the track.

Bay Bridge an impressive winner of the Brigadier Gerard over C&D on reappearance probably would have preferred a stronger pace and slightly easier ground than he got when a 1 length 2nd of 5th to State Of Rest at Royal Ascot.

Juddmonte International winner Mishriff was only 3rd to St Mark's Basilica in last year’s race. However, the ground was good to soft that day and I think he wants better ground. If he gets, he’s got to be respected

Alenquer finally made the breakthrough at Group 1 level when beating High Definition in the 8-runner Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last time. A previous C&D (Classic Trial) winner he probably needs to improve a bit more to land a top-notch Eclipse but its possible he can.

Real World has finished runner-up to Baaeed on his last two starts. If he does take his place in Saturday’s race it will be his first run at 1m 2f since winning a Listed race at Newbury 12 months ago.

Aidan O’Brien could bring over Stone Age.  A disappointing11-length 6th of 17 in the Derby last time. He probably didn’t’ really stay 1m 4f that day and didn’t particularly handle the Epsom undulations. A more aggressive ride over 1m 2f could see a much better performance from the 3-year-old.

Frankie or Danny?

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor has an interesting jockey dilemma. Does he keep Danny Tudhope in the saddle, or does he go with Frankie Dettori? Its an interesting sub-plot to what already looks a cracker of a race.

Wednesday Racing

Thirsk and Musselburgh race on the flat this afternoon and there’s a jumps card at Worcester. Tipperary, Bath, and Kempton complete the day’s action with evening fixtures.

I’m off to Thirsk for today’s selection.

Thirsk

3:25 – Langholm made all to win over C&D in April and bounced back to winning ways when winning at Catterick last time. He’s been raised 6lb for his latest win which makes life tougher albeit he’s a reliable handicapper. However, preference is for Northbound. Granted the 4-year-old hasn’t won since his juvenile season but he did put in a couple of good efforts here last season, including over C&D. He also finished a 3 ¾ length 12th of 15 behind Langholm here in April but that effort can be marked up as he didn’t get a run 2f out. Comes into this on the back of a couple of disappointing efforts but he's now 15lb better off with Langholm and the forecast strong pace should suit him better.

Wednesday Selection: Northbound – 9/1 @ Coral & Ladbrokes.

Good luck with your Wednesday bets.

John

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