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Coral Eclipse Stakes Preview: No Place For Trojan Horses

The Coral-Eclipse Stakes takes place at Sandown in early July. It’s the first opportunity we get to see the Classic generation of three-year-olds take on the older, more experienced horses.

The race has provided many great winners over the years, with the likes of Enable, Roaring Lion, and Golden Horn, to name a few.

Follow The Three-Year-Olds

When it comes to looking at trends, there are a few. Three-year-olds have been the way to go in recent years, winning on six occasions since 2015. It’s easy to see why, as they get a huge weight-for-age allowance, receiving 10lbs from their older rivals.

Furthermore, Aidan O’Brien has been the trainer to follow in this race, winning it seven times in his career. He has won two of the last three renewals.

City Of Troy Needs To Back It Up

Looking at this year’s renewal, it looks like he could win it again with City Of Troy. He is the red-hot favourite at 4/7 with Rhino. Going into the Epsom Derby, I was very keen to take him on. However, he proved me and a lot of people wrong. It was just that his performance in the 2,000 Guineas was very lacklustre, and he had no genuine excuses. The year before that, O’Brien had managed to turn it around with Auguste Rodin after a similar performance, but he had the excuse of the ground, so it was hard to see how City Of Troy could win the Derby.

After he won the Derby, Aidan O’Brien confirmed that the Coral-Eclipse would be his next target, and then possibly a campaign in the USA and even a race on the dirt. As much as I respect Aidan O’Brien and the potential City Of Troy has, I need to see another performance from him to call him the real deal and to prove his Derby victory wasn’t a flash in the pan. 

Overall, I don’t think City Of Troy is going to have it easy. There are going to be several contenders that will make him work to win.

Rain Dance Needed For White Birch

One of those is White Birch, for Joseph Murphy. He was last seen winning the Tattersalls Gold Cup in May, beating Auguste Rodin, who went on to win the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. However, the key to White Birch is soft ground, and that’s why he missed Royal Ascot. The weather forecast in the build-up to this year’s Coral Eclipse looks like there could be some rain around. He will be a lively contender if the heavens do open.

Elsewhere, there are some interesting three-year-olds who could be open to improvement over this trip.

Not Seen The Best Of Ghostwriter

The first of them is Ghostwriter for Clive Cox. He’s not been disgraced in either of his runs this season, finishing fourth in the 2,000 Guineas and then fourth again in the Prix Du Jockey Club. Both races have worked out well, and Clive Cox has said that the son of Invincible Spirit is yet to get his conditions this year, which is fast ground over 1m2f. If it does stay dry, it will be interesting to see how he fares.

Trip Could Be Key For Dancing Gemini

Dancing Gemini is another horse that is worth mentioning. He finished sixth in the Epsom Derby after coming from an unpromising position., but probably didn’t stay the trip. I think he should improve coming back in distance. Like a few of these three-year-olds, would need to improve, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

Too Soon For Jayarabe?

One horse that I do think is very much going under the radar is Jayarabe. He won the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot for Brian Meehan. The son of Zoffany showed a great pace to get the job done and I think he won with a bit up his sleeve. It should also be mentioned that he was given a great ride by Sean Levey that day. If the ground is quick then he would be a lively player. Furthermore his form from earlier in the season has been advertised by the likes of Ambiente Friendly.

His connections said that he might have to consider the Coral-Eclipse, even though it might come a bit too soon after Royal Ascot. However, if they do roll the dice, he would be a horse to keep on side.

My Coral-Eclipse Shortlist 

White Birch (9/2)

Jayarabe (33/1)

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The Coral-Eclipse Stakes takes place at Sandown in early July. It’s the first opportunity we get to see the Classic generation of three-year-olds take on the older, more experienced horses.
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