Three to lay for Eclipse Day at Sandown

7 min


12:20 Coral Charge

When Muthmir won the King George Stakes at Goodwood in 2015, it looked like he would take plenty of beating in the top 5f sprints in Britain, but his domestic record in listed and group races since then reads “ran twelve won one” with his win coming when scraping home from Alpha Delphini in a listed contest last time. He’s still capable of smart form when things drop right, but that is the key, and the fact that he tends to race freely when seeing daylight means he has to be ridden for luck, and such tactics are rarely rewarded here, especially when allied to a wide draw.

Last year he finished fourth in this from a similar stalls position, and it’s easy to see this race unfold in a similar fashion, with the possibility of a modest pace (no confirmed pacesetter here) making things even trickier for him. He has the highest official rating in the field and may start favourite by default, but he does not have an easy task based on this season’s form, and won’t have things run to suit.

Recommended: Lay Muthmir @ 4.5 or shorter

12:55 Coral Challenge

Original Choice is an unoriginal choice for lazy punters having won the rearranged Thirsk Hunt Cup (careful!) at Wetherby last time. That came on ground with a bit of ease, and his three successes on turf have been on good or softer ground, with both disappointing efforts coming on extremes of ground. The first three home at Wetherby all made their moves relatively wide on the track, and while race favourite Humbert has gone on to frank the form, I think that he was compromised by racing closer to the pace, and the inside rail, than ideal.

Original Choice has a harder draw than it appears one of the rail, especially given his usual tactics, and he will need luck in running to deliver a challenge. With all that in mind, he looks much too short at the head of the betting, and I’d be keen to lay him for a place.

Recommended: Lay Original Choice for a place @ 3.5 or shorter

13:30 Coral Distaff

Narella has no penalty to carry for winning a German Group 3 last year, and has joined Roger Varian, but while she has a Group 1 entry in the Matron Stakes, it’s very hard to be adamant that she is better than these rivals, as she was sent off virtually unbacked at Baden Baden in a race which is easy to pick holes in. She went on to contest the Prix Marcel Boussac on Arc day, but finished last of seven behind Wil Illusion, and comes here off the back of an absence. She was visually impressive when taking the Zukunfts-Rennen, it must be said, but may well have been helped by racing wide on the track away from other rivals, and the filly she came clear with could finish only fifth in the German 1000 Guineas.

That race was won impressively by Mark Johnston’s Nyaleti and seemed to confirm that the German crop of three-year-olds just aren’t very good. She was very well backed in some places when the market opened for this, and I’m hoping she also attracts support on the day, as I’d not be comfortable chasing her out in the market given how hard she is to rate. If we don’t get the price needed, then it’s best to let her go.

Recommended: Lay Narella @ 3.0 or shorter

14:10 Coral Eclipse

As I’ve said on the Matchbook podcast, this is a potentially messy race, and unpicking this year’s classic form is a thankless task. Lots of these could be compromised by the run of the race, with team tactics between Godolphin and Coolmore representatives a possibility, but it’s hard to tell who will be worst affected. One who will have no such concerns is Forest Ranger, who will be handy throughout, and was impressive in how well he settled despite a high draw and wide trip in Chester’s Huxley Stakes.

He has decent place claims if merely repeating that effort, but it could easily prove a springboard for better things, and he is capable of better now he’s proven he stays this trip well. Back him win and place at generous odds.

Recommended: Back Forest Ranger win & place @ 18.0/3.8 or better