Sandown Park – Saturday 6th July – 3:35 – 1m 2f (1m 1f 209y) Coral-Eclipse (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (3yo+)

The Eclipse Stakes is named after the 18th Century racehorse of the same name (this webzine is also named after him!). The vast majority of modern thoroughbreds can trace their pedigree back to Eclipse who was undefeated in 18 races and lived to the grand old age of 24.

The race was established in 1886 and the inaugural running was won, perhaps fittingly by another very famous horse in the shape of Bendigo. At the time the prize fund of £10,000 made it Britain’s richest ever race.

The race is open to both three year old horses and older horses. Over the last 20 years the three year olds – who are receipt of an age for weight allowance – have won the race on eight occasions, with four year olds winning six times and five year olds being first past the post on six occasions.

The betting can help to point out the winner as 17 of the last 22 renewals have been won by horses in the first three in the betting and over the same period eight favourites have obliged.

Previous winning form is vital when looking for the winner of the Eclipse as nine of the last 12 winners had won on at least one third of their previous starts. Nine of the last 12 winners had won over 10 furlongs and nine of the last 12 winners had also finished in the first three on their previous start. Take a close note of any horses who ran at Royal Ascot on their previous start as nine of the last 12 winners fit this profile.

Previous winning form at Group 1 level is also an important consideration with eight of the last 12 winners conforming to this statistic. The last 20 renewals have seen 15 of the winners running with an Official Rating. Of the 15 winners 13 had a rating of 118 or higher.

Enable, who is the top rated horse in Europe makes her eagerly awaited seasonal reappearance in the race. Having won the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe for the second time last October before going on to win the Breeders Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, she is being pitched in at the highest level against race-fit rivals. She is likely to go off as the odds on favourite. Therefore it is worth considering the fact that in Group 1 races over the last 10 seasons of the 166 horses coming back from an absence of 200 days or more only 12 have won. Enable, who has won on her last 11 starts is undoubtedly an extremely talented horse and may well win the race, but her short price might be enough to some people off.

An alternative might be Magical who finished second to Crystal Ocean in the Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. The four year old bay filly has won twice previously at Group 1 level. She is proven over both the race distance and in the going and although she has something to find with a Enable in peak form she is a high class filly and if Enable does need a run, a strong travelling Magical could be well placed to pick up the win.

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