Horse Racing

The Coral-Eclipse 2023 Horses and Riders

There was a fantastic day of racing at Sandown Park Racecourse on Friday afternoon, and there’s another great day set for Saturday. There are some fine handicaps on the card, alongside the prestigious Group 1 Coral Eclipse, which takes place at 15:40.

Coral Eclipse Sandown
Photo by Icon Sport.

Run over a trip of one mile and two furlongs, this race has previously been won by legends of the flat racing game such as Sea The Stars, and that’s lots to suggest that Paddington, who recently impressed when bolting up at Royal Ascot, could go on to be a real star, but first he needs to get the job done at the Surrey venue.

Coral Eclipse Horse & Riders

From a punting perspective, the 2023 renewal of the Coral Eclipse is slightly underwhelming, it must be said. Only four runners go to post. They are as follows:

Dubai Honour – Ridden by Tom Marquand

Four wins and four places from 15 turf runs, Dubai Honour is certainly a smart performer. The gelding enjoyed himself back in 2021, winning three races in quick succession, landing a hat-trick that culminated in Group 2 success at Longchamp (France). He was then only narrowed beaten in the Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Unfortunately, the five-year-old, trained by William Haggas, lost his way a bit in 2022, failing to land a blow in some high-profile contests, finishing only a modest fourth in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York. Then again, with only three rivals here, he couldn’t be completely disappointed, especially after a decent third at Group 1 level in Hong Kong last time out.

West Wind Blow – Ridden by Jamie Spencer

Prolific winner, who has won five of his ten races on the level, most recently winning a Group 3 over on French soil, while he’s also won in Listed company in Britain. However, this is a different kettle of fish, and the mount of Jamie Spencer is unlikely to make his presence felt strongly enough. Out of the reckoning on all available form, put it that way.

Emily Upjohn – Ridden by William Buick

This is a filly of the highest class, there are no two ways about that. For John Gosden, the four-year-old made a winning return to action at Epsom this season following an impressive campaign as a three-year-old.

The way in which she trounced her rivals in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes was impressive, while she returned from over 200 days off to win well at Epsom last time out, despite racing in a tough Group 1 race. That form must be respected and she’s well worthy of her place in this field. Both her performance last time out and her rating tell us that she’s a top horse, while she remains lightly raced, so may yet improve further. It really wouldn’t be the greatest surprise if she was to test the favourite here.

Paddington – Ridden by Ryan Moore

This horse could hardly have done more at this stage of his career. He hinted at bags of promise when scooting clear in a big-field Curragh maiden last year, before being kept under wraps until March, when he showed no signs of lacking race fitness to win well at Naas.

From that point, it’s been all systems go for this hugely impressive sort, who won a Listed contest well when stepping up to a mile for the firsts time at the Curragh, before showing everyone that he’s got bags of ability when shooting clear late on in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. He proved any doubters wrong when winning the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot as the second favourite last time out. Not only did he win that race, but he put some top horses in their place, readily going clear in the final furlong. That form is the best on offer and a mere repeat would likely see him extend his unbeaten run.

The manner in which he strode on at Ascot suggests that this step up to one mile, two furlongs will suit, and it may even unlock further improvement from a runner that is starting to look a bit special.

Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!