Sandown Park – Saturday 7th July, 2:10 – 1m 2f (1m 1f 209y) Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (3yo+)
The Eclipse Stakes is named after the 18th Century racehorse of the same name. 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 in receipt of an age for weight allowance – have won the race on seven occasions, with four year olds also winning seven times and five year olds being first past the post on six occasions.
The betting can help to point out the winner as 16 of the last 21 renewals have been won by horses in the first three in the betting although over the same period only seven favourites have obliged.
Previous winning form is vital when looking for the winner of the Eclipse as 10 of the last 12 winners had won on at least one third of their previous starts. Nine of the last twelve 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 14 of the winners running with an Official Rating. Of the 14 winners 12 had a rating of 119 or higher.
With three of the first four Derby runners opposing each other again it may pay to concentrate on the three year olds. I was very taken with Roaring Lion when he won The Dante at York in May which is the same trip as the Eclipse. What was striking was the way he stayed on so strongly winning the Group 2 event by 4 lengths. John Gosden, his trainer, was not convinced Roaring Lion would stay the 1 mile 4 furlongs of The Derby trip. I would suggest that 10 furlongs is his optimum trip. He will have no issues with the going and the long striding colt will find the track at Sandown much more to his liking than the undulating course at Epsom.