14:10 Sandown – Coral Eclipse

At this stage of the flat season it’s hard to judge just how good this years crop of three year old classic contenders truly are. After today’s showpiece, The Coral Eclipse, we should get a better understanding as horses that finished 1st, 3rd and 4th in this years Derby reignite their rivalry once more, this time around however they have their older counterparts to contend with.

Derby victor Masar deserves his spot as pre-race favourite after conquering all before him in the prestigious Epsom Group 1 contest. A repeat of that effort will make him hard to beat but it seems an odd move from connections to drop him back down to 10 furlongs. With a slight concern over the trip it may well be worth taking on the favourite even though there’s little doubt he’ll be there or thereabouts come the finish.

The “talking horse” for the past year has been Saxon Warrior. Unbeaten as a two year old he was heralded as the next big superstar to come out of his notorious stable. He duly obliged when winning the 2,000 Guineas on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket and as such went off as the well backed odds-on favourite for The Derby last month. His unbeaten record slipped as he found a trio of horses too good at Epsom and his invincible tag diminished. Excuses were made but he was unable to rectify his Derby defeat when going off a short priced favourite once again in the Irish Derby most recently only to finish third. A drop in trip and the addition of blinkers may well be the answer to ensure he returns to winning ways but after two below par efforts it’s tricky for punters to keep the faith.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien doesn’t just send Saxon Warrior he also saddles Happily and Cliffs Of Moher who both have lively outside chances and I couldn’t put anyone off backing either each way.

Course and distance winner Hawkbill also deserves respect as if he can recapture the form that saw him win this very race two years ago he’s already shown he has what it takes to be in the mix.

All this being said however it’s Roaring Lion who looks the one to side with as he aims to take the 56th running of this infamous race.

The John Gosden trained three year old is seeking to emulate the likes of Golden Horn, Sea The Stars, Hawk Wing, Giants Causeway and Daylami who’ve all won this contest in the past.

A proven winner over today’s trip, from a yard in form and a horse who seems to relish firmer ground he can make amends for his Derby defeat and show his top class ability once again.


ITV Races:

12:20 Sandown – Haddaf (E/W)

12:35 Haydock – Ghostwatch (WIN)

12:55 Sandown – Daira Prince (E/W)

13:10 Haydock – God Given (WIN) – NAP

13:30 Sandown – Preening (E/W)

13:45 Haydock – Blakeney Point (E/W) & Titi Makfi (E/W)

written by Rory Paddock

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