The Group One Coral Eclipse takes centre stage this weekend at Sandown and Cliffs Of Moher bids to give Aidan O’Brien his sixth win in the contest, and first since 2011 when So You Think scored under Seamie Heffernan. Ballydoyle also run Taj Mahal, under Derby-winning jockey Padraig Beggy, but it’s the mount of Ryan Moore that’s likely to go off favourite. There’s a school of thought that he didn’t quite get the Derby trip so coming back to ten furlongs should be right up his street.
He’s no certainty though with a host of top-class three-year-olds, and older horses, taking him on. Best of the youngsters looks to be Barney Roy, who patently didn’t handle the dip at Newmarket in the 2,000 Guineas before exacting revenge on Churchill at Royal Ascot. He’s a risky proposition though, stepping up in distance for the first time, and didn’t look to be crying out for further at the end of the Royal Ascot race.
Eminent was also behind Barney Roy and Churchill at Newmarket before finishing close up behind Cliffs Of Moher in the Derby so all of the three-year-old form ties in very closely. Best of the older brigade looks to be Roger Charlton’s Decorated Knight and he’ll love the Good/Firm underfoot conditions. He’s still improving, even as a five-year-old, and ran a career-best behind Highland Reel last time out in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. A repeat of that might well be good enough in what should be a fascinating race.
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