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Paddington owner expects ‘fascinating duel’ in Coral-Eclipse

| 05.07.2023

Part-owner Michael Tabor is anticipating a “fascinating duel” should Paddington take on Emily Upjohn in Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

The three-year-old would be stepping up to 10 furlongs for the first time in Esher following his Irish 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes wins, while the year older Emily Upjohn will be dropping back from a mile and a half after landing the Coronation Cup at Epsom last month.

Paddington is now the 11/8 favourite in the Coral-Eclipse betting, with Emily Upjohn eased out to 13/8 while fellow Group One winners Anmaat and Dubai Honour are being largely ignored by punters at this stage.

“Paddington and Emily Upjohn have been vying for favouritism for this year’s Coral-Eclipse for several days now, and the pair are responsible for more than 90% of the bets taken on the race this week, with punters expecting the younger colt and older filly to be fighting out the finish up the Sandown hill on Saturday,” said Coral’s David Stevens.

“There is some confidence coming from connections of rivals like Anmaat, but at present that’s not been reflected in the betting.”

Paddington, who has won five of his six starts for trainer Aidan O’Brien, would be getting 7lb from Emily Upjohn, and Tabor thinks that could prove crucial.

He said: “I think we have Paddington in the Eclipse at the weekend. He is up against a very, very good mare, Emily Upjohn. It will be a fascinating duel. What can you say? We are getting 7lb weight for age, I suppose.

“It makes a difference, but don’t forget we are only a three-year-old and Emily is a four-year-old. She should be that much stronger, so it is all compensation, but we have to respect her.”

Tabor owns Paddington in partnership with John Magnier, Derrick Smith, Westerberg and Peter Brant, with all but the latter also involved in Luxembourg, who is also entered in the Eclipse.

Winner of the Tattersalls Gold Cup before having to settle for second in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, he is 12/1 in the Coral-Eclipse odds, although Tabor is unsure on his running plans.

He added: “I haven’t even asked Aidan if Luxembourg is running, or with Derrick or John, because we have been focusing on Paddington running, because he’s our number one.

“Luxembourg is a good horse. He will have his day in the sun soon. We always discuss it with Aidan – he would never say I’m running him in this race or whatever.”

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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.