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2022 Coral-Eclipse: runner-by-runner guide and tip

By Tom Thurgood@tdthurgood
Fri 1 Jul 2022

Tom Thurgood puts the six contenders declared for Saturday's £750,000 Coral-Eclipse under the microscope plus reveals his fancy for the Sandown showpiece, live on Racing TV at 3.35pm.

The Coral-Eclipse invariably proves one of the races of the season and although only six have been declared this year, it's certainly a high-class renewal of the £790,000 showpiece - live on Racing TV.

This is notably the first time this season that the Classic generation take on their elders and, while an understandable emphasis is put on this, the numbers don't suggest firmly siding with a certain age group.

The younger brigade have won nine of the last 25 runnings from a total of 60 overall contenders - equating to 36% of the winners from 31% of the total runners.


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According to market prices, the three-year-olds have performed 14% below market expectation in that time period (0.84 A/E). The older performers perform at a poorer overall strike-rate in winning 64% of the time from 69% of the runners in the last 25 years, but perform slightly better at the prices compared to the three-year-olds (0.91 A/E).

The three-year-olds tend to be more compelling based on the weight they receive and generally more progressive profiles but, as always, it's best to judge each runner on individual merits.



ALENQUER

Age: 4. Trainer: William Haggas. Odds: 17-2.

While not blessed with the turn of foot of some of these, this hardy campaigner is tough and reliable and a strong stayer at the trip - as he showed when staying on for second behind Mishriff in last season's Juddmonte International and most recently with a gritty success in a thrilling Tattersalls Gold Cup from the re-opposing Lord North. He likes this track but he could be vulnerable if this turns into a dash for home.


BAY BRIDGE

Age: 4. Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute. Odds: 4-1.

Mark Howard and Gordon Brown study the runners

A brilliant winner on his return in the Brigadier Gerard – form that has been well advertised since – he shaped well behind the high-class and well-ridden State Of Rest in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, running the final five furlongs quicker than the winner in what was an extended sprint for home. He surely still has more to come given his age and profile and should be comfortable with whatever pace scenario unfolds here.


LORD NORTH

Age: 6. Trainer: John and Thady Gosden. Odds: 22-1.

Has a good record on good ground or better over ten furlongs and this lightly-raced performer shaped better than the result in the Tattersalls Gold Cup after going with enthusiasm before looking unsuited by the staying finish over the extended ten-furlong trip. He shaped OK in the Prince Of Wales's last time when he lost all chance at the start - losing roughly 11 lengths on the all-the-way winner in the first furlong (1.74s slower) - and he didn't have a hard race. He's clearly vulnerable for win purposes but a steady pace followed by a sprint for home - a feasible pace scenario here with just the six declared and no established pace angle - would suit him and he's better than he's shown on his last two starts. He looks a little underestimated to me and is worth monitoring in 'without the favourite' and extra place markets.


MISHRIFF

Age: 5. Trainer: John and Thady Gosden. Odds: 8-1.

Top-class globetrotter posted a career best in last season's Juddmonte International and that might just be the ultimate target again, while he was beaten in this race last year after racing too keenly - with the trainer additionally suggesting afterwards that his runner may have been undercooked on his first start for 98 days. He's had a better run at the Eclipse this year and he clearly has the potential to feature, though a decent gallop would seem important to his chances and he's likely to come on for this outing. Some of his rivals might just be a bit more progressive, too.


NATIVE TRAIL

Age: 3. Trainer: Charlie Appleby. Odds: 100-30.

Last year's champion juvenile landed his Classic last time in the Irish 2000 Guineas, though he was somewhat workmanlike there from a plum draw even if he hit the front early enough. This step-up in trip wouldn't suit on breeding but given this imposing and strong colt has a big stride and takes time to get organised he's a fascinating contender now up in distance. The small field and likely lack of strong pace looks an advantage to his chances, though watch out for ground conditions - he's yet to race on ground faster than good and he shows significant knee action.


VADENI

Age: 3. Trainer: Jean-Claude Rouget. Odds: 13-8.

Shaped well in the Prix de Fontainebleu from a hopeless position on his return, landed the Prix de Guiche next time in the manner of a piece of work before looking really impressive again in the French Derby. While he had a lovely position throughout from a good draw, he did hammer his opposition and the ante-post favourite is a fascinating runner here after connections paid £50,000 to supplement him. He looks very classy indeed with a real turn of foot. His trainer has five wins from 30 runners in Group One contests in Britain and Ireland since 2003.


Tom's big-race verdict

The three-year-olds hold sway at the top of the market, and Vadeni is readily preferred ahead of Native Trail given his lightly-raced and genuinely progressive profile. You just feel contemporaries might just be starting to catch up with Godolphin's champion juvenile from last season.

But it's BAY BRIDGE who looks the most solid to me given I'd be happy to be with him whether this race is run at a good gallop or, as I suspect more likely, a more steady one that could prove a dash for home. He may have been beaten at a short price in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes last time, but he shaped really well in the circumstances as the sectional times prove and he surely has more to offer for a trainer who has won this race more than any other. Lord North will not be getting any better at his age, but he looks overpriced to me all the same - especially if a steadier gallop unfolds on Saturday.

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