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Coral-Eclipse 2023: Paddington outguns Emily Upjohn in Sandown duel

| 09.07.2023

Paddington saw off the tenacious challenge of Emily Upjohn in a thrilling Coral-Eclipse 2023 at Sandown.

Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old began the season in handicap company, but he had already successfully stepped up to win both the Irish Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes subsequently.

Upped in trip to 10 furlongs for the first time, Ryan Moore rode him as if there were no doubts about his stamina and so it proved.

His solid temperament allowed Moore to put him where he wanted in the race and having broken smartly, he found himself in front on leaving the stalls.

The field then raced in single file, with West Wind Blows and Jamie Spencer leading Paddington, Emily Upjohn and Dubai Honour.

Spencer tried to steal a march turning into the straight and took two lengths out of the others. However, Moore breezed up on Paddington and went into the lead, although Emily Upjohn would not leave him alone.

With half a furlong to run it briefly appeared that the greater stamina of Emily Upjohn may prevail, but she could not quite get on terms with her younger rival, who was getting 7lb.

Paddington’s half-length verdict was O’Brien’s seventh triumph in the race, making him the most successful trainer in the contest’s history.

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Here are the thoughts of some of the connections as they reflected on the Coral-Eclipse 2023…

Paddington trainer Aidan O’Brien

“I always have doubts about everything really and I never expect anything to happen. There are so many different things that can happen. There were four horses in the race and any one of them could win.

“So, that’s the way we approach every race. We do the best we can with all the horses and have them as well as we can and communicate the best we can with each other. We accept the result, win lose or draw. That’s the way we approach every race.

“Obviously, I’m always worried and no horse wins until they have passed the winning post, but Ryan was very confident. I don’t think he went for his stick at all.”

Emily Upjohn trainer John Gosden

Emily Upjohn, Coral-Eclipse 2023, horse racing

“It is disappointing when you only get four runners in a race of this class and nature. She has run great, a little slow out the gate, so she settled into third but had every opportunity up the straight and obviously had to take the length and a bit to get to him, but it was a superb race and we are thrilled with her.

“Back to a mile and a quarter – she hasn’t run a mile and a quarter since the Musidora (last year) – so obviously it was a super run and she is a mile-and-a-half filly.

“But full marks to the winner, he is a very laid-back, good-looking horse and he did it well. But of course, we are giving 7lb and that tells. But it would tell, it is a four-year-old to a three-year-old.

“I remember what Lester (Piggott) said, the three-year-old has the edge in the Eclipse and the four-year-old in the King George.”

West Wind Blows trainer Ed Crisford

“He ran super and I’m really pleased with him. Jamie set nice, honest fractions and he ran his heart out. I’m very pleased he finished third and it was probably a career best for him.

“I think we will definitely be looking at international races with him. I think he could be very competitive in Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong. He has got lots of options over a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half and we will take it from there really.”

Coral-Eclipse: All you need to know

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Andrew McDermott

Andrew is a sports betting content journalist at PA Media. He is a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan but when he isn't reminiscing about their Premier League days he is also a junior cricket coach and enjoys cycling.