Ante-Post Value – The Coral Eclipse
Saturday’s renewal of the Coral Eclipse could be a thoroughly interesting affair and trying to get The Fugue beaten is my first port of call. John Gosden’s 5-year-old mare heads the market at 7/4 early doors and that’s little surprise as she’s arriving here on the back of a career best run having landed the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot a couple of weeks ago.
A replication of the bare figures would be enough to see her land a fifth top-level success come Saturday, but you can knock the form on account of Treve clearly failing to show her true worth back in third place and runner-up Magician is no world-beater, for all that he has some solid form.
This could wind up being a tougher test for The Fugue, particularly if the ground isn’t on the fast side as it was at Ascot. She floats over a quick surface, is evidently at her very best under such conditions and any rain would be off-putting to say the least. It may not materialize, of course, but at this stage I’m happy to look elsewhere at 7/4. For now, that price is short enough in my book.
Night Of Thunder is a general 3/1 poke at the moment and is an extremely interesting runner should he line up as expected. The Richard Hannon trained 3-year-old is a high-class sort with an ocean of ability and that was evident when he won the 2000 Guineas despite hanging almost all the way across Newmarket’s course. Kingman managed to overturn that form with the son of Dubawi in the St James’ Palace at Royal Ascot but I’d be inclined to forgive Night Of Thunder as he made his own running and that wouldn’t have been ideal. He was beaten by a better horse regardless and it’s doubtful that he’d ever get the better of that unbelievably talented rival again (mini-Frankel!), but he’s the sort who wants a lead.
The interesting thing is that Richard Hannon sees fit to send his charge up to 1m 2f now and I’m not entirely sure how he’ll react to that. Fair enough, he’s out of a Galileo mare and by Dubawi – a fair influence of stamina – but his dam didn’t look to be much more than a miler in her limited career for Jim Bolger and further down the line, there’s no shortage of speed in the pedigree. It’s a really tricky one to gauge as far as I can see and has me stumped. He runs like he will stay, but I’m in two minds and when you’ve got doubts over a 3/1 shot, the smart money is probably left in your pocket. The class to be a major contender is in his locker – is the staying prowess? That’s a question I simply can’t answer for now.
A few others are of interest, notably the 3-year-old’s Kingston Hill and True Story should they turn up, but once again I’m siding with Verrazano to prove his worth at the top-level. The 4-year-old American import was our ante-post selection in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and despite drifting like a barge, Aidan O’Brien’s charge ran the race of his life to finish second behind the high-class Toronado, only beaten three-parts of a length. That was a significant step up on his British debut in the Lockinge at Newbury and he really did shape as if a return to this 1m 2f trip is in his favour, as he didn’t really travel a yard at Ascot and only finished so close due to a willing attitude and a fine ability to stay on strongly despite finding it all happening too quickly. He can almost certainly build on that on what will be just his third outing on turf and the step up in trip is a huge plus. 5/1 is decent.
Selection for the Coral-Eclipse (3:50 Sandown; Saturday, 5th July):
Verrazano – 5/1 win-only, available with Coral & William Hill.
Post by James Boyle.
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