Tag Archives: Sandown

The Coral Eclipse (G1)

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My Dream Boat just gets the better of Found in The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. Picture courtesy of Horsephotos and Getty Images.  

Would The Gurkha beat Found? Over 10f? On this ground?


That’s what the market wants us to believe. The Gurkha lost his last race, the St James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal meeting. The view post race was that if rerun, the result would comfortably reverse. The winner Galileo Gold was given a masterful ride by Frankie Dettori who picked him up a furlong out to go 2L clear driving him easily to the line.

When The Gurkha broke from the gate Ryan Moore dropped him in, whether that was by design or not is unclear. What is clear is in doing so he was shuffled back and from then on he struggled with his position. When he got to make his run Frankie had flown and granted he was checked and had to switch outside Awtaad but the reality is he was unable to travel comfortably through the early stages of the race and that is where the damage was done. Over this longer trip that might be less of an issue but will there be enough left in the tank to produce the pace he displayed in winning the French Guineas? That’s what he’ll need to do to win this. Travel and quicken.

Plenty of questions then for The Gurkha to answer.

So let’s go back to the question here. If The Gurkha was to take on Found who would you back to win? Fair chance that if 11/2 was available on the mare you’d take it as opposed to the miserly 10/11 on the colt given her overall level of form.

My Dream Boat is available at 11/2 having beaten Found last time out in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes over this 10f trip. Found has looked to make a race winning move when she pulled clear of the pack a furlong out. Adam Kirby had My Dream Boat daydreaming at the back. He woke him up, pulled him wide and passed all to catch Ryan Moore by a neck on the line. It was a fabulous ride.

Time Test is running out of time. He missed Royal Ascot because of the give in the ground but Roger Charlton is keen to run now with similar conditions underfoot. He beat Western Hymn here in April over course and distance in the Brigadier Gerard but have connections one eye on the next time out?

Hawkbill is asked to step up on his Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes win at the Royal meeting. He’s on the up having stitched five win’s on the bounce and Godolphin have every right to put him in here. The experience will stand to him.

It’s a fascinating race, the weight of money for The Gurkha since last Sunday would suggest he’s unbeatable. If he is to be found out it’ll be by My Dream Boat.

Recommendation : My Dream Boat 11/2 win


Coral-Eclipse Stakes (G1)

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Cougar Mountain chasing home Solow in the Queen Anne. Picture courtesy of Alan Crowhurst and Getty Images. 

Golden Horn’s Derby win got a boost last week at the Curragh with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th all finishing in the same order but stepping up a place at the Curragh.

It solidified his position at the top of the market for this first generational meeting of the colts this season. In numbers the race lacks depth but that cannot be said about the quality. In the Derby winner we have a horse who has the potential to become one of the all time greats running over a trip that his owner always thought would be his best.

He has to beat The Grey Gatsby who hasn’t won since beating Australia in the Irish Campion Stakes last year. His three runs this year have yielded a 2nd to Solow at Meydan , a 4th to Al Kazeem at the Curragh and a 2nd beaten a short head by Free Eagle at Royal Ascot. That last one was terribly unlucky. Caught in a pocket he couldn’t get out until too late and a yard by the line he had his head in front. This 10f is his best trip as he displayed in winning the French Derby and collaring Australia last year.

Cougar Mountain is a fascinating entry here. Has Aidan O’Brien got him wrong so far? His second visit to the racecourse was to contest the July Cup and he continued at sprint distances for the remainder of the season. This year he’s run three times over a mile doing his best work last time out when 3rd to Solow in the Queen Anne.

This could well be a tale of right and wrong.

John Gosden was right earlier in the week to say the market has got this wrong. He thought even’s about Golden Horn and 2/1 about The Grey Gatsby was a fairer reflection of their respective chances. He didn’t mention the 12/1 on offer about Cougar Mountain which has since shortened to 10’s.

Kevin Ryan was also right to say The Grey Gatsby is not given the respect he deserves by the racing public.

Aidan O’Brien could well be telling us post race he was wrong with his horse last year but he’s found his right trip now.


Recommendation : Cougar Mountain 10/1 ew 



The Coral Eclipse (Group 1)

The Fugue winning last years Irish Champion Stakes

The Fugue winning last years Irish Champion Stakes


The money has come for Kingston Hill this morning. 11/2 overnight he’s now a 4/1 shot. The ground rides good to firm despite 3mm of rain overnight. The difference for the Varian team between this week and last week is that the drop of rain should be enough to take the sting out.

The Fugue is on the drift from 2/1 to 5/2 as the sponsors attempt to take her on. This reflects the depth of the race. It’s only 17 days since she beat Magician, Treve and Mukhadram at Royal Ascot in the Prince’s Of Wales over this 10 f trip. It’s now considered her favourite as she excelled last year at Leopardstown in the Irish Champion Stakes ahead of Al Kazeem and Trading Leather.

As well as Kingston Hill four other three year olds get the weight for age allowance. The Guineas winner Night Of Thunder had the form overturned with Kingman in the St James’s Palace Stakes where War Command ran on to be third. Richard Hannon’s colt might find the trip brings him to the edge of his stamina whereas War Command looks likely to benefit from the step up in trip. True Story didn’t stay in the Derby and he will surely benefit from the drop in trip. The Dante run behind the Great Gatsby shouldn’t be forgotten.

The two four year olds come from Ireland. Last years Irish Derby winner ran a moderate race at Newmarket over 12 f in early May. Likewise his trainer Jim Bolger also had a moderate start to the season but between Fairyhouse on Wednesday and Leopardstown on Thursday he’s had 7 runners of which 4 won and 2 were second.

Verrazano is getting better, third in the Lockinge, second in the Queen Anne to Toronado both over the mile he goes a furlong further than his best performance when he won the Haskell Invitational over 9 f. Tullius is going the other way second in the Lockinge he could only manage fourth in the Queen Anne.

The 17 day gap since The Fugue’s last run will encourage to the opposition. In high summer it might not affect her but she did break the track record which would have required some exertion.

A cracking race, the first meeting of the generations this year. The three year old’s look to be above average this year and the weight advantage might pay this afternoon. The Derby and Guineas form is hot and arguably the Derby is the hotter. Kingston Hill was the best stayer in the race beaten by an exceptional speedster in Australia . The trip is the question here. He might just find this trip too sharp on ground that not ideal.

The one who could have the cards fall his way is True Story. He hated Epsom, the trip, the switchback nature of the track and the chamber all of which blunted his natural talent and curtailed the one thing you need to win this race today, pace. This won’t be short for pace and weight for age can put Kieron Fallon and Godolphin back in the limelight.

Recommendation : True Story 16/1 ew


Bet365 Mile (Group 2)

The first Group 2 of the season in England attracts a field of six led by the Irish raider Famous Name. Arguably his best performance came at Lonchamp when as a three year old he came within a head of winning the Prix du Jockey Club over a rain softened Chantilly turf. He is a winner of 15 of his 30 starts and has an impeccable record at Group 3 level between a mile and ten furlongs. He just got the better of Sharestan recently at Leopardstown but if the race was run again the result would be different.

This race has been harvested for the last four years by Richard Hannon and indeed he has won six of the last eight renewals with the likes of Paco Boy and Hurricane Alan both winning twice in that period. Today last years Guineas second, Dubawi Gold represents the Wiltshire handler and there is a question of his class alongside those previous winners. Closest to Frankel in the famous race was followed up with a similar position in the Irish Guineas behind Roderick O’Connor. His form tailed off subsequently though he was campaigned at the highest level when finding Excelebration too good a couple of times and didn’t quite hit the high note in Hong Kong when going down a length to Able One in December. He does have the benefit of an early season run in Dubai where he ran in the Jebble Hatta over 9f which probably stretched his stamina to the limit.

The other Hannon runner Libranno will be ridden by Ryan Moore. He’s won twice at this level over six and seven furlongs on good ground.

Penitent represents David O’Meara who if capturing this will achieve a career high point. He’s an up and coming trainer and an astute one at that. The form his horse showed when winning a listed race over a mile at Doncaster has been boosted by Questioning whom he beat 3/4 L when he went on to take the Earl Of Sefton from Twice Over.

The field is completed by Cochabamba who takes a considerable step up in class, one that is unlikely to yield results.

It’s an early season pipe opener here and most will go on to contest at Group 1 level after this. With the ground likely to be heavy expect Pat Smullen to try to capitalise on the Weld inmate but the unconvincing performance last time leaves one Questioning and theirin lies the answer to his one.