Your runner-by-runner guide to the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown
We preview whether Enable can claim a second win in the race
The Coral-Eclipse is a race that always delivers. And on a star-studded weekend which also includes the Derby and the Oaks at Epsom, there’s a strong argument to be had that the Eclipse is the best race of them all.
Not only does it feature two-time Arc winner Enable, who won the race 12 months ago. It also includes Godolphin prodigy Ghaiyyath plus Japan, Magic Wand and Deirdre.
What does that all mean? Well, it means we have a Group 1 to savour. The action is live on ITV at 15:35 this Sunday, but before the runners go to post, let’s take you through them all one-by-one.
Enable | /1112- | Frankie Dettori | John Gosden
Enable started her third Arc prep in the Eclipse 12 months ago. Now she returns for another crack at the Sandown feature. John Gosden’s superstar showed no sign of rustiness back then and the trainer reported her to be ‘looking magnificent’ last month ahead of her reappearance this time around.
On bare form, she’s the standout horse in the race. No-one can compete with a roll of honour which includes a pair of Arcs, two King George VI & Queen Elizabeth IIs, a Breeders’ Cup victory plus countless other top-level prizes.
Even with such a glittering trophy cabinet, she’s not unbeatable. Waldgeist showed that at Longchamp last season, and it should be noted that the Eclipse is a much deeper race this time around than it was 12 months ago. If the likes of Ghaiyyath or Lord North are on their game, then Enable will have to work for it. However, she remains the one to beat.
Ghaiyyath | 310-11 | William Buick | Charlie Appleby
Ghaiyyath has been something of a talking horse for a while. Everyone knew how good he might be, and while a 12l victory in the Preis von Baden looked good on paper, it was difficult form to weight up.
We need wonder no more. Charlie Appleby’s inmate beat a host of quality rivals on his reappearance in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Newmarket, including 2019 Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck.
He led from the front that day and will look to do so again here. But with the finishing speed of Enable and Lord North to deal with this time around, he may look to put the race to bed before the finish. He’s a genuine contender and ranks as the main threat to the favourite.
Japan | 1114-4 | | Aidan O’Brien
Aidan O’Brien has a stranglehold over plenty of races in the UK and Ireland, but not the Coral-Eclipse. The Master of Ballydoyle hasn’t won this event since So You Think’s triumph in 2011. Based on Japan’s reappearance behind Lord North in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, that wait may go on.
However, it could be the four-year-old simply needed the prep-run. Victory in the Grand Prix de Paris last term and a subsequent fourth-place finish in the Arc would suggest he ran below his true level at Royal Ascot. We know he gets the trip, so it could be a question of whether he strips fitter for his spin in Berkshire just over a week ago.
Magic Wand | 12-291 | | Aidan O’Brien
Magic Wand is always there or thereabouts at the top level. The Galileo mare travelled the world last season and hit the frame no fewer than seven times at Arlington, Leopardstown, Flemington and Ascot. That makes her interesting for each-way backers, although an extreme bout of second-itus will make it difficult for her to win the race outright.
All told, Magic Wand has only beat the judge four times in 24 career starts. Despite that, you can guarantee she’ll hold her own in this company. She probably won’t win, but like plenty of others in the race, she has solid place claims.
Deirdre | 1434-2 | Oisin Murphy | Mitsuru Hashida
International representation is always welcome in the Coral-Eclipse. And Japanese trainer Mitsuru Hashida saddles the likeable Deirdre, who has been based at Newmarket since her runner-up berth in a valuable race at Riyadh in February.
The six-year-old is a regular on these shores and won the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last term. This level of competition is step up from that, however. She’ll run her race, but it’s difficult to see the Harbinger mare laying a glove on the market principals here.
Regal Reality| 3458-3 | | Sir Michael Stoute
Regal Reality hit the frame in this race at 17/2 12 months ago. He’ll fancy his chances of doing similar again this time around. Sir Michael Stoute’s charge is never going to challenge the big boys, but he always holds his own in a race like this.
He’ll run on strongly, and you can be near certain he’ll be on hand to pick up the pieces late in the day if anything goes wrong up the front.
Bangkok | 22-135 | Silvestre De Sousa | Andrew Balding
It would be an almighty shock if Bangkok could get up to win this. Andrew Balding’s runner went off as the 9/1 fifth-favourite for the Derby 12 months ago but could only finish a disappointing ninth.
His subsequent efforts haven’t produced anything more encouraging, with a Listed success in the Winter Derby on the all-weather at Lingfield all he has to show following his Epsom excursions.
He’s the outsider for a reason. But it should be noted he finished just a nose behind Japan in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. If he can run his race without getting into trouble under regular jockey Silvestre De Sousa, then he could sneak a place as long as the full eight run.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication