Race of The Day Saturday July 07
14:101m2fur (2000m)

Group 1 Coral Eclipse Stakes

Sandown Park

  • Current Favourite  Masar
  • Current Odds 7/4
Race Analysis Runners 8 Going Good to Firm Distance 1m2fur (2000m)

Race Overview

One of the first major races of the season between the cream of the Classic generation and the star older horses, this mile-and-a-quarter Group 1 event offers prize money of £790,625, but more importantly offers a chance for the colts, in particular, to establish themselves as potential star stallions of the future.

This is a springboard to the top middle distance events later on this season such as the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Champion Stakes and the Irish Champion Stakes, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and even the Breeders’ Cup.

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Horse racing - Charlie Appleby

Favourite Masar

Impressive winner of the Investec Derby at Epsom five weeks ago having previously run third over a mile in the Qipco 2000 Guineas, Charlie Appleby’s colt faces the third (Roaring Lion) and fourth (Saxon Warrior) from that race as well as taking on some star older horses. Connections see no reason why the form should be reversed despite the drop back in trip.

Former champion trainer John Gosden

Other Contenders

Roaring Lion, trained by John Gosden (pictured),and Saxon Warrior, gained only a rear view of Masar at Epsom While the former has been kept fresh for this race over the shorter mile-and-a-quarter trip, the latter ran only a week ago in the Irish Derby, finishing third. Former winner Hawkbill, as well as the progressive Forest Ranger and last year’s Derby runner-up Cliffs of Moher represent the older generation, while classy filly Happily is no forlorn hope either.

Race Analysis

It wouldn’t be too hard to argue that MASAR hasn’t yet been given the credit he deserves for a fine victory in the Investec Derby at Epsom last month. He stepped up from a mile and was clearly travelling far better than the opposition over two furlongs from home before showing a smart turn of foot to put the race beyond doubt. He had previously finished third to Saxon Warrior in the Qipco 2000 Guineas (Roaring Lion fifth), so today’s intermediate 10 furlong trip should hold no terrors for the son of New Approach.

William Buick gets on really well with Charlie Appleby’s colt and I see no reason why he shouldn’t confirm his superiority over the Derby third and fourth, as well as over the remainder of the opposition.

Roaring Lion was beaten over nine lengths by Masar in the Group 3 Craven Stakes earlier in the term, finished two places behind him in the 2000 Guineas, and was beaten two lengths by him in the Investec Derby. John Gosden clearly feels his charge is improving and that the 10 furlongs over which he impressively won the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York in May (see below) will again bring out the best in him. He is a very talented horse but may again have to play second fiddle to his old adversary.

Saxon Warrior seems to be running here as something of an afterthought. He was brilliant when winning the Qipco 2000 Guineas in May (see below), but struggled in the Derby at Epsom, finishing only fourth. He ran a good race at the Curragh last Saturday to be a close third to Latrobe in the Irish equivalent, but seemed to have a hard race. Trainer Aidan O’Brien is a genius and must be satisfied his colt is ready to go again, but it would be some training performance if he can turn the table on Masar off the back of such a preparation.

O’Brien’s talented filly Happily, a dual Group 1 winner as a juvenile, third in the Qipco 1000 Guineas and beaten less than half a length in the French Oaks recently, is respected but this is a tough task, while Ballydoyle’s third contender Cliffs of Moher, runner-up in last year’s Derby, hasn’t been at his best so far this campaign.

Richard Fahey’s Forest Ranger has a progressive profile and seemed to improve for the step back up to this trip when comfortably landing the Group 2 Huxley Stakes at Chester last time so a bold show is by no means out of the question. The 2016 winner Hawkbill hasn’t been at his best in Britain this term, while Raymond Tusk looks completely out of his depth.

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Betting.net Selection

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Betting.net Danger

Roaring Lion

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Paul Alster Betting.net

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.