Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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Sandown Park count down towards the richest-ever race in their long and illustrious history when they stage the £750,000 Group 1 Coral-Eclipse on Saturday, July 7.
The 2018 renewal benefits from a 50 per cent rise in value to £750,000 from £500,000, which was announced earlier this year with Coral’s sponsorship extended for five years to 2022.
The Coral-Eclipse offers the first chance of the season for the three-year-old Classic generation to take on older horses at Group level. The 10 furlong contest has attracted high class entries, headed by Investec Derby winner, Masar, whose owners Godolphin have confirmed will be supplemented for the race.
Masar’s trainer Charlie Appleby said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and I discussed Masar’s programme at length and have reached the conclusion that the Eclipse will suit him best,” Appleby told http://www.godolphin.com.
“We will leave him in the Irish Derby, just to keep all options open. But the intention is to run in the Eclipse.
“Masar has won at Sandown (the Solario Stakes), showing that he acts well on the track and dropping back in trip will be no problem. He won the Craven Stakes and finished third in the 2000 Guineas. He’s got plenty of speed.”
Coral’s David Stevens said: “We’re delighted to have extended our flagship flat racing sponsorship and our partnership with the team at Sandown for a further five years, and with this year’s race worth a record £750,000, we can look forward to another high-class and exciting renewal of this famous contest.”
Masar is currently best-priced at 2-1 for the Coral-Eclipse where he bids to give Appleby his second victory in the race, having won it with Hawkbill in 2016.
Last year, the victory of Ulysses in the Coral-Eclipse enabled Sir Michael Stoute to join Alec Taylor Jr as the most successful trainer in the race’s history with six successes.
Aidan O’Brien, reigning champion trainer in Ireland and Britain, has won the Coral-Eclipse five times, winning with Giant’s Causeway (2000), Hawk Wing (2002), Oratorio (2005), Mount Nelson (2008) and So You Think (2011).
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