Friday, July 06, 2012

Coral-Eclipse day 2012

Ten have been declared for tomorrow's feature, the Coral-Eclipse run over ten furlongs at Sandown.

There has been plenty of rain around today and the temptation is to think the ground will ride heavy but so far Sandown seems to have missed much of the moisture - at the time of writing the going is described as good to soft.

So You Think won this last year but was declared a non-runner yesterday after suffering a setback; he has now been retired to stand at stud in Australia. His withdrawal makes this a completely different race.

Three-year-olds receive an eleven pounds allowance from their elders in the Eclipse but in the past decade only three of the younger generation have obliged: Hawk Wing in 2002, Oratorio in 2005 and Sea The Stars in 2009. This year's representatives are Bonfire and Cogito; the former was sixth in the Derby and hails from a stable in form but to my mind possesses a suspect temperarment while the latter has enough to find despite finding plenty of trouble in running behind Most Improved in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot two and a half weeks ago.

Farhh replaces Royal Ascot conqueror So You Think at the head of the market. The Godolphin colt looked unlucky in running that day; connections are on record as saying their charge would prefer cut underfoot and they look likely to get their wish. Another Godolphin runner, Monterosso, won the Dubai World Cup at Meydan in March but in the run-up to this connections have been decidedly downbeat. Nathaniel is a very talented individual and shown appropriate respect but the colt missed his intended comeback as the result of a dirty scope - this looks a tough ask on his seasonal debut. Cityscape has never won beyond nine furlongs but he has shown his best form on soft. I was considering two at each-way prices - Crackerjack King and previous winner Twice Over but neither wants the rain. Marco Botti's grey brings Italian form to the table while at the age of seven Twice Over looks unlikely to win - no horse older than five has won in over 50 years. Farhh looks the percentage call provided you buy into the Ascot hard luck story and he can reproduce a similar effort 17 days on; at the prices Crackerjack King is put up as a tentative each-way selection at around the 12/1 mark, although the ground appears to have gone against him.

All week I have been wondering whether to play in the following race, the Coral Marathon run over two miles plus at 4.20. Cavalryman is priced up favourite in the tissue but he's never been easy to catch right and is worth taking on. Chilberta King beat Aaim To Propser and Electrolyser a nose and two lengths in last year's renewal  - the first two look closely matched once again although on current handicap ratings Chilberta has five pounds in hand. Top-rated animal Glen's Diamond doesn't look guaranteed to stay while Mount Athos is of interest as is Thimaar having missed last week's Northumberland Plate on account of the heavy ground. Trappy indeed - earlier in the week I fancied Mount Athos but now the rain has arrived I'm far less confident - I think I'm going to watch from the sidelines... 

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

A thrilling renewal of the Eclipse. William Buick played hardball from the front, committing Nathaniel (7/2) fully three furlongs out. That was a brave move, especially as the horse had been off the track for some 266 days. Farhh (11/4f) threw down his challenge at the furlong pole but was unable to pass the leader, beaten half a length with Twice Over (16/1) staying on in third.

Selection Crackerjack King was backed in to 11/2 from 12s in the morning. Racing behind the leaders most of the way, he had every chance if good enough but couldn't go with the principals and faded to finsih fifth, beaten some 12 lengths.

Despite my reservations about Cavalryman, he was sent off 3/1 favourite for the Marathon and duly obliged; Mount Athos was declared a non-runner.