WILL THERE BE A SHOCK IN TODAY'S CORAL-ECLIPSE?
Derby winner Masar was withdrawn late on Friday evening and this leaves a field where a shock is on the cards. Saxon Warior has been added to the lineup to ensure extra interest but we now have a short-price favouite in Roaring Lion.
THRILLED WITH ROARING LION - JOHN GOSDEN
John Gosden's grey colt will be heavily supported with the trip and ground likely to suit the smooth travelling son of Kitten's Joy. For us the 13/8 is too short though he deserves to be favourite and the one they all have to beat. We are reminded of John Gosden's comments after his Derby defeat: "Roaring Lion ran a great race, we're absolutely thrilled with him. He travelled well, but didn't stay on the ground and we'll have a look at the Eclipse. That might be well be up his alley. He's improving, he stayed straight as an arrow and Oisin said he is growing up a lot and was thrilled with him. He's probably a mile-and-a-quarter horse."
Gosden is probably right but we have looked at those with a price and will try and beat him. So who are the contenders?
He looked a potential world-beater when winning his first four starts with the last of them in the 2,000 Guineas on his reappearance when he had Masar and Roaring Lion behind but both have shown better form since. His preparation for this particular race is not conducive to winning. It was only 7 days ago he last ran and today will be his third hard race in a month and the O'Brien team, who are generally patient are taking a punt! It now looks clear that he races over his optimum distance today and 9/4 looks very skinny regarding his chances. It is times like this when even great trainers get into a tangle with their horses and this looks one such occasion!
CLIFFS OF MOHER
He was the 7/4 favourite when fourth in this last season, he has yet to strike at the top level and had two attempts within three days at Royal Ascot, what was that all about?. His runs in both the Prince Of Wales’ and Hardwicke were creditable. He has won three times from 7f to 1m 2f but whilst we accept he may be suited by going further rather than dropping back we think he will run a big race.
Bizarrely he is clearly better on soft ground though has won on good. Like Roaring Lion he is out of Kitten's Joy who loved fast surfaces. The dam Trensa won 3 races from 19 starts in the United States mostly on fast ground and was second in a Grade 3 on firm going, her sire was Giant's Causeway who also loved fast ground so whilst accepting the soft ground argument we have taken better than 20/1. He clearly remains the pick of the older horses on official ratings. He has looked out of form but he has bounced back before and is a top-class performer on his day, as when winning this race in 2016 and when making all in the Sheema Classic at Meydan in March. He is 1-1 at Sandown and 3-3 in July and James Doyle rides.
For in-plat players Hawkbill is dangerous when he gets an uncontested lead and he races against just six rivals. Charlie Appleby confirmed: "Probably going more international is going to be Hawkbill's forte. It's sometimes a bit easier to get on the lead and dictate overseas."
FINALLY, THE TRENDS SAYS LOOK FOR 119+
Finally, one of our stats tell us that 9 of the last 11 winners (82%) had an OR of 119 or more, the two horses who meet the criteria are Hawksbill (120) and Saxon Warrior (121). Had the latter been fresher he would probably win this race but we are taking Hawksbill to go close if he gets that lead...
2.10 Sandown: 2018 Coral-Eclipse Stakes
24/24: Won by a 5yo or younger (100%)
11/12: Ran in the last 28 days (92%)
10/12: Winners were from the top 3 in the betting (83%)
10/12: Won a Group 1 or 2 race previously (83%)
..9/11: Had official rating of 119 or higher (82%)
13/16: Won by a previous Group One winner (81%)
13/16: Had at least 2 runs already that season (81%)
18/24: Already won a Group 1 (75%)
..9/12: Won by a horse aged 4 or 5yo (75%)
12/16: Raced between 2 and 3 times that season (75%)
12/16: Placed favourites (75%)
18/24: Won on the day's ground conditions (75%)
11/16: Raced at Royal Ascot last time out (three won there) (69%)
..8/12: Won a race already that season (67%)
..8/12: Rated 122 or higher (67%)
11/16: Placed in their last race (69%)
15/24: Won over the distance (63%)
..7/16: Favourites won (44%)
..4/11: Winners won last time out (36%)
..8/24: Won at Sandown previously (33%)
..5/16: Won by an Irish-trained horse (31%)
..7/24: Favourites won (29%)
..4/16: Trained by Aidan O’Brien (25%)
..4/16: Raced in the Epsom Derby that season (25%)
....2/9: Derby winners of that season went onto win the race (22%)
The average winning SP in the last 16 runnings is 5/1.
In the last 24 runnings 20/1 has been the longest priced winner and 4/9 was the shortest.
The finishing position of the last 11 favourites reads: 42161211122
TIMEFORM ANALYST'S VERDICT
Roaring Lion has twice finished behind Masar over a mile this season, and again when upped to 1½m in the Derby. However, John Gosden's charge impressed over this trip in the Dante at York and is taken to get the better of his old rival here. It's too soon to forget how good Saxon Warrior looked in the 2000 Guineas but he is on something of a recovery mission and Masar is clearly the main danger.
Last year's winner
Horse: Ulysses 8/1
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute
Jockey: Jim Crowley
Previous Best: 1st - Beringice Gordon Stakes (Group 3)
Goodwood (July 2016)
Age: 4 Weight: 9st 7lbs
THE RACING HORSE VERDICT
1st; Hawksbill 20/1 2nd; Cliffs Of Moher 25/1 3rd: Saxon Warrior 9/4
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