Sandown Coral-Eclipse Day Preview
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Sandown Coral-Eclipse Day Preview

It's the highlight of Sandown's summer programme this weekend with their Group 1 Coral-Eclipse taking centre stage. The mile-and-a-quarter contest pits some of the best three-year-olds against their established rivals in a generational clash and has been won by some superstars of the sport in the past. The Racing Post previews Saturday's Sandown action, which runs from 1.50pm-5.20pm.


1.50pm - Coral Charge (Group 3, 5f)

After proving a revelation in handicaps, Raasel made the step into Listed company a winning one at Haydock in May when beating off Dragon Symbol into second spot and giving owners The Horse Watchers another golden moment. He's been a real star for trainer Mick Appleby, winning 6-8 on turf, and commands this latest rise in class, though the placed horses from Haydock have all misfired since.

MITBAAHY was going away from his rivals over C&D in last month's Scurry Stakes, confirming he's progressing this term as a 3YO sprinter. Roger Varian's charge missed the key contests at Royal Ascot and returns to this Esher venue fresh and on the rise. He could be the answer again.

Arecibo was second in this race 12 months ago but was in much more promising form arriving into it, while Equilateral drops in class and will find this less taxing having reappeared in the King's Stand at Ascot.

Method was too free at Salisbury in last month's comeback run and faded accordingly. Martyn Meade's colt lost his way to a degree last summer but that effort was more encouraging and he could well build on it.

Selection: Mitbaahy

Next Best: Method


2.25pm - Coral Challenge (Handicap, 1m)

Sinjaari ran well in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot last time out and Roger Charlton's charge is likely to head the betting for this contest. A stiff mile here will suit him and he's yet to run a bad race in five starts since moving to this trainer, but almost two years have elapsed since he last managed to put his head in front.

CHECKANDCHALLENGE is most interesting for William Knight. He won his first two starts on the all-weather, including a Listed event at Newcastle on Finals Day in April in really commanding fashion.

He came up well short afterwards in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket but that was perhaps a leap too far, too soon. The handicapper hasn't taken any undue risks but he remains a 3YO with scope for plenty improvement now tackling his first handicap.

Top-weight Escobar made a winning seasonal bow at York and then shaped well in an Epsom Group 3 before a midfield Hunt Cup finish at Ascot. He should run his race but may find a few are better-placed.

Chance goes well fresh and has been in cracking form for Simon & Ed Crisford, he could arrive late on the scene if there's a good pace to aim at.

Selection: Checkandchallenge

Next Best: Chance


3.00pm - Coral Distaff (Fillies' Listed, 1m)

HEREDIA was confidently ridden and came home strongly to see off 27 rivals in the Sandringham at Royal Ascot 15 days ago for Sean Levey and Richard Hannon. She put clear daylight between herself and the field very quickly, with only the late run of Zanbaq applying a modicum of pressure.

That took the Dark Angel filly to four wins in four starts and, on first attempt, she really saw out the mile in fine style. On that evidence, she'll have a future in stronger races than this one and she will take some halting now upped into Listed company.

Oscula was second at Epsom at the start of June before scoring in this grade at Carlisle 10 days ago, both contests over 7f. This is a tougher race on paper and George Boughey's filly isn't completely proven at the mile trip.

Grand Dame found the Group 1 Coronation Stakes too warm last time and while John & Thady Gosden's charge is lightly-raced and had earlier gone close in this grade at York, a line through the third from that race - David O'Meara's Love Interest - suggests she has work on to overhaul Heredia.

Queen Aminatu was a luckless third at Haydock (7f, soft) last month having posted figures of 2211 on the all-weather previously. She's open to progress upped in trip/class and represents a William Haggas/Tom Marquand team in possession of the Midas touch right now.

Selection: Heredia

Next Best: Queen Aminatu


3.35pm - Coral-Eclipse (Group 1, 1m2f)

This generational clash has gone the way of a three-year-old four times in the last seven years and the 10lb concession to the Classic generation makes it an attractive proposition.

To that end, French Derby winner Vadeni and Irish 2000 Guineas hero Native Trail are hugely respected - and they dominate the betting.

Jean-Claude Rouget's Vadeni was very impressive at Chantilly and the Churchill colt clearly won't be troubled by this trip.

However, plenty went his way last time and this is a tougher test for him, while it perhaps wasn't a vintage French Derby.

The same can be said of Native Trail's win at the Curragh. The champion 2YO of last year, he was surprisingly beaten by stablemate Coroebus at Newmarket and while getting back on track in Ireland, it was more workmanlike than spectacular.

Bay Bridge was very good in the Brigadier Gerard here in May, though has since been turned over by State Of Rest at Royal Ascot in a tactical event.

Mishriff holds the best form on last year's Juddmonte International win at York, but might find ALENQUER gains revenge for that six-length defeat now. He won the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on his return and, with no pace in this race, Tom Marquand may dictate in front.

He came up the Sandown straight in strong fashion to win his only previous start here and, coming back here off a career-best effort, it won't be easy for the others to get by him.

Selection: Alenquer

Next Best: Mishriff


4.10pm - Coral Play 'racing-super-series' For Free Handicap (1m2f)

The progressive Chairman had plenty in hand at Bath in May over this trip and appeared to find a bit more when a threat was posed to him late on. He's gone up 7lb for that win and is hugely respected on the back of that winning handicap bow, as he's yet to finish outside of the first two in four runs.

A decent alternative may be his fellow 3YO LE FORBAN for trainer George Baker. He perhaps didn't relish Goodwood in April but last month he was a decisive Lingfield Polytrack winner over this trip and there could be more to come from him back on turf.

Redcar winner Forest Falcon will have more to do from the front in this company, but should ensure an honest pace, while Aldhaja found only the improver Vee Sight too strong over C&D last month and has seen that form well-advertised this week by Hamaki at Haydock. Silvestre De Sousa is a good booking here and the War Front colt could have more to come at this distance.

Selection: Le Forban

Next Best: Aldhaja


4.45pm - Coral 'beaten-by-a-length' Free Bet Handicap (1m2f)

Four of these were winners last time and they all come here with claims again. Forward Flight and Youthful King will require a bit extra on the bare form shown at Yarmouth and Windsor respectively and it may be that Picual and LAND OF EAGLES are better equipped for this test.

The former arrived fast and late at Nottingham three weeks ago to score on handicap bow but she's now rated 4lb higher and takes on the boys, though the booking for Ryan Moore is a plus for Sir Michael Stoute's charge.

Preference is for George Boughey's Chepstow winner Land Of Eagles. He was a bit keen early in that novice contest and faced a stern test late on City Streak powered home on his outside. The gelding really knuckled down and refused to bow.

This mark of 75 looks one he can exploit and with William Buick taking over now, they may well benefit if able to sit handy and challenge late.

Selection: Land Of Eagles

Next Best: Picual


5.20pm - Coral 'get Closer To The Action' Handicap (5f)

SHAMLAAN was eventually well held in the Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes at Royal Ascot but there were good signs in that race for him. Kevin Philippart De Foy's charge has progressed since joining from David O'Meara and was a winner over this trip at Goodwood in April before shaping well five days later under a penalty at Chester's May Festival.

He drops in class now and, eased 1lb by the assessor, it shouldn't come as a major surprise if he rebounds from his Ascot defeat.

Lovely Mana is in the midst of a consistent run of form but has a higher rating to try and defy back on turf, while Just Glamourous and Fantasy Master are others with claims.

Live In The Moment is on a potentially decent mark for trainer Adam West and is one that should appreciate the testing finish here, giving him each-way claims.

Selection: Shamlaan

Next Best: Live In The Moment






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