12 Horses have been declared for Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, one of the most prestigious 1m 2f contests of the Flat racing season, although with the course (currently good on the round course, and good, good to soft in places on the straight course) drying out by the minute due to the warm temperatures sweeping most of the country the final make-up of the race worth £435k is likely to change by the time the runners go to post.
Connections of both Kingston Hill and Tullius have expressed grave concerns regarding likely fast conditions for the weekend with Roger Varian, trainer of the former who missed last weeks Irish Derby due to the state of the ground and is a best price 10-1 with Betfred for Saturday, saying: ” No-one wanted a Derby rematch more than us and it was an agonising decision not to run, but it was the right one on ground I felt was too quick. I’m going to speak to the owner tonight so I can’t really add anything bar he is in the Eclipse and also in the Grand Prix de Paris. We hope to get conditions in one place that will allow us to have a go.”
Andrew Balding, trainer of general 25-1 chance Tullius who most recently finished a creditable fourth in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, is also loath to risk his 6-year-old on unsuitable ground, of which he said: ” He needs a bit of rain but we’d like to run as we’d like to see how he acts over a mile and a quarter. He’d want good ground at least. I think they are due some rain on Friday so I imagine we’ll declare him and make a decision on the day.”
Sandown clerk of the course Andrew Cooper offered a little hope to connections of those horses requiring some cut in the ground, in speaking about the weather prospects for the day’s ahead, saying: ” All forecasts suggest the next two days will be dry and warm. Friday a little cooler but dry. There’s the possibility of rain during Friday night introducing a spell of more unsettled weather over the weekend, perhaps in the 5mm territory.”
The betting for the Coral-Eclipse is currently headed by Prince Of Wales’s Stakes winner The Fugue at a top price 2-1 with Bet365, William Hill and the sponsor followed by Night Of Thunder on 3-1. Our ante-post each-way value tip Mukhadram, advised at 14-1, is still available at that price with Stan James, Ladbrokes and Coral but a 12-1 chance generally.