THERE have been some titanic battles in the Coral Eclipse over the years and the market suggests that we’re going to see another one tomorrow afternoon at 3.10pm. Aidan O’Brien’s So You Think, who was beaten by Rewilding at Royal Ascot just a couple of weeks ago, is the red-hot 4/5 favourite with the sponsors after being heavily backed all week.
However, the former Australian-trained four-year-old has to redeem his reputation after Ascot and his trainer said he might have been undercooked that day. O’Brien wouldn’t have had much time to work on his fitness since then and at this stage he is something of a hype horse.
Sir Michael Stoute has been going through an uncharacteristically quiet spell, but WORKFORCE is a Derby and Arc winner and he is simply too big at 7/4 with Coral. He won really well over course and distance in the Brigadier Gerard and he should have come on bundles for that.
The tactics are going to be fascinating, as it could become slightly messy with just five in the line-up. Snow Fairy would be a big threat on her best form, but this is a very tough race for her seasonal debut, while Sri Putra is unlikely to finish better than third.
Make sure you take a look at Coral’s excellent Green Tick service, which offers enhanced win only prices. In addition, to celebrate the firm’s 36th year of this famous sponsorship, they are betting to 100% on coral.co.uk in the build up to the big race.
Haydock stages the Lancashire Oaks tomorrow (2.50pm) and it’s a shame that the remarkable Barshiba isn’t back to try to win the race for the third year in a row. It looks an open contest, but Sir Henry Cecil can claim victory for the first time since 2001 with VITA NOVA. She has won three of her four career starts and was only just touched off by Ferdoos at this track last time.
The dangers are headed by Gertrude Bell, who won well at Goodwood on her seasonal debut, Dorcas Lane, third in the Ribblesdale, and Polly’s Mark, the runner-up to Barshiba in this 12 months ago.
There is another decent fillies contest at Sandown this afternoon where Roger Varian’s unbeaten Nahrain looks set to be sent off favourite in the Coral Distaff (4.15pm). She could be anything, but is hugely inexperienced and I prefer the chances of Roger Teal’s COCHABAMBA. Although this daughter of Hurricane Run has only won one of her six career starts, she has some excellent placed form and comes out best at the weights.
For those of you who can’t wait until tomorrow, there is a cracking card at Sandown this afternoon and I can’t let our old friend CHAIN LIGHTNING go unbacked in the 4.35pm. He was sent off the 6/1 favourite in last month’s Britannia, but just couldn’t live with the pace over a mile. Prior to that, he won a handicap here over today’s 10 furlong trip in April, beating Dominant who romped home at Newmarket last time.
I would also advise having an each-way bet on John Gosden’s EX ORIENTE in the maiden at 3.25pm. He was the subject of major support on debut at Newmarket a fortnight ago, but didn’t handle the softer ground and today’s conditions will suit much better.
You can follow me on Twitter @BillEsdaile.