Thrilling finish in Eclipse Stakes as Vadeni wins while jockey Soumillon handed ban at Sandown

Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse Stakes produced a rare French winner as Vadeni prevailed in a dramatic finish at Sandown.

The French Derby winner was the first Sandown runner for French trainer Jean-Claude Rouget and a first UK winner for owner Aga Khan since Harzand in 2016. 

Alenquer went for glory but quickly appeared like a sitting duck as Bay Bridge cruised up only to flatten out.

Native Trail and Lord North also went on the offensive, but it was Christophe Soumillon's Vadeni who produced the perfectly-timed challenge to seize the lead.

Mishriff did challenge towards the end, but lost the race by a neck after a somewhat misfortunate run.

Soumillon said: "I waited in the last position but the pace was just fine. We didn't go really fast, but for my horse everything was perfect.

"He was really relaxed. He changed legs perfectly everywhere I wanted and when I came out of the turn, the pace picked up and for like 50 or 100 yards he was a bit off the bridle, so I had to give him a chance.

"When he just went up that small uphill at the two-furlong maker, he just took me on the bridle and changed legs. That was at the point where I was thinking may I wait a bit more and I saw Mishriff on my inside completely stopped and I said 'I am not going to wait'. He is going to go through the horse to let my horse go.

"I just let him go. That is why I came maybe 50 or 100 yards too early to hit the front, but everything was fine. Unfortunately maybe 100 or 80 yards from the line, he stumbled and he lost balance for a few strides, and I had a neck in front of William (Buick on Native Trail) and I felt the horse come too on the outside, so I was like, 'please, don't give up, keep going'.

"Even if it is tough track, he gives you a gear like champions can give you.

"For me, he is a pure mile-and-a-quarter horse. In the beginning of the race he doesn't show too much speed, but the way he accelerates and you look at him physically, he really looks like that (a mile and quarter).

"With horses, you never know. We will see how he goes next - probably for the Irish Champion Stakes - and from there we will see. He is a really special horse."

There was a sting in the tail for Soumillon though, who, while celebrating on crossing the line, allowed Vadeni to drift to his right, badly hampering Native Trail who in turn forced James Doyle to snatch up on Lord North.

Soumillon was given 12 days ban (July 16-27 inclusive) for careless riding.

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