Who should I bet on in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown?

Planet Sport takes a look at the four contenders (yes, just four!) for the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday, July 3. Perhaps we can dig up some juicy odds ahead of the big race.

The Eclipse Stakes is a Group One Flat race run at Sandown Park on Saturday July 3.

Horses over three-years-old and above qualify for the race which is run over ten furlongs.

The Group One is always one of the highlights of the season as it is generally the first time the Classic generation tackle their elders in one of the showpiece races.

Ghaiyyath, trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick, won the race in 2020.

Planet Sport takes a look at the leading contenders for the race in a reduced field.

Four go into battle

French Guineas and Derby winner St Mark's Basilica will take on older horses for the first time in a small but select field of just four horses.

While there may not be many runners, the race lacks little in quality with Mishriff and Addeybb setting a very high bar for St Mark's Basilica to aim at.

Having won the Dewhurst last year as Aidan O'Brien's second-string, St Mark's Basilica has continued to progress and has enjoyed two successful forays to France this season.

He is on his travels once more this weekend but slightly closer to home.

Mishriff has been a revelation for John and Thady Gosden, proving his versatility over different trips and surfaces.

He was a big price to beat his stablemate Waldkonig when racing resumed last June but since then his progress has been - bar one blip - phenomenal.

Mishriff won the French Derby on his next outing, returned to France to win a Group Two in August and his sole defeat came in the Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Since then he has won a valuable pot in Saudi Arabia on dirt - beating some of the best Americans - and then returned to turf to prove he stays twelve furlongs in the Sheema Classic in Dubai.

David Egan keeps the ride on Mishriff in his role as retained rider for owner Prince Faisal and he is targeting the the latest leg in the middle distance category of this year's Qipco British Champions Series.

"He's a fresh and enthusiastic horse who can be ridden any way you want," said Egan.

"I rode him very differently in the Saudi Cup and at Meydan, and having been able to lay up over nine furlongs on dirt, for which you need a lot of speed, he then switched off at the back of the field over a mile and a half on turf at Meydan.

"Not many horses can win at the highest level on dirt and turf, let alone over trips as varied as that, so it was a tremendous achievement. I think the stiff 10 furlongs at Sandown will be ideal for him. He'll enjoy that climb and he should be doing his best work at the end, so I'm very excited."

The winner of the Champion Stakes, though, was William Haggas' Addeybb, another globetrotter.

While that was his first Group One in Europe, he does have three in Australia to his name and despite being seven, retains all his ability.

Roger Varian's El Drama, winner of the Dee Stakes at Chester but unplaced behind St Mark's Basilica in the Prix du Jockey Club, completes the field.

As expected David Menuisier did not declare Wonderful Tonight while O'Brien chose to take out Armory and Japan, also.

St Mark's Basilica

St Mark's Basilica is out to uphold the honour of the Classic generation in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes.

Only three of the last 10 winners have been three-year-olds - despite a 10lb weight-for-age allowance - and they were not even represented last year as Ghaiyyath beat Enable.

Those that have won in recent times include the John Gosden duo of Roaring Lion and Golden Horn and perhaps one of the best Eclipse winners of them all in Sea The Stars.

On what he has done so far this season, the Aidan O'Brien-trained St Mark's Basilica certainly would not look out of place among those names should he come out on top in a select four-runner field.

Winner of the Dewhurst as a juvenile, in two runs this year the Siyouni colt has landed the French 2000 Guineas and Derby.

"We've been delighted with him this season, both his runs," said O'Brien.

"Everything went well before them and everything has gone well since. The ground is drying up and I'd imagine that the more it dries up the more it will suit him."

When asked what made him decide to go down the French route with St Mark's Basilica this season, the Ballydoyle hander replied: "We'd planned to take him over on Arc day last year with the intention of then aiming him at the French races.

"Obviously he couldn't run on Arc day (due to feed irregularities) and that was how he ended up in the Dewhurst a week later. He was always going to go back to France."

Ryan Moore has not ridden him since he finished third in the National Stakes, his last defeat.

"There are not many horses who win three Group Ones in a row, but that is what my colt has done in winning the Dewhurst and the two French Classics," Moore told Betfair.

"I wasn't on board for any of those successes, but he looked very impressive in beating last year's Lagardere winner in the Prix du Jockey Club last time.

"Hopefully, getting 10lb from the older horses can swing it his way, but it is clearly his toughest assignment yet. And, of course with just four runners, this promises to be very tactical, too. But it is the same for us all on the latter front."

St Mark's Basilica is currently 7/4 with Planet Sport Bet - BET NOW

Mishriff

John Gosden has labelled this year's Coral-Eclipse Stakes a race the purists will enjoy as he prepares his globetrotting star Mishriff to face just three rivals.

Wins at the highest level in France and Dubai, plus a valuable race on dirt in Saudi Arabia, have propelled Mishriff from fairly modest beginnings into one of the highest-rated thoroughbreds on the planet.

His presence, along with that of William Haggas' Addeybb, who is actually 3lb his superior on British figures, and Aidan O'Brien's French Guineas and Derby winner St Mark's Basilica means despite the small field, the 10-furlong contest will answer plenty of questions.

Gosden feels the size of the field is understandable, too, given the quality of the big three and the race's proximity to Royal Ascot.

"He's not the highest-rated horse, Addeybb is rated 3lb higher officially. I know it's an elitist field but what people have to realise is that it's a lot of money to enter these races, a lot of money to stay in at the forfeit stage and it's a lot of money to confirm," he said.

"When you have the likes of the front three here, they are not easy to take on so I think a lot of people take that viewpoint. Another thing for those criticising the small field to remember is the Prince of Wales's was only 16 days ago and I know from experience that it's very tough to come here after that.

"For the purists this is the type of race they enjoy - and you'll probably find the outsider, El Drama, will come and do the lot of them!"

Since racing resumed in June last year, Mishriff has raced six times, winning all bar the Champion Stakes in October on ground Gosden described as "diabolical".

"I don't want to be critical, but the ground at Ascot on Champions Day was diabolical. I had a lot disappoint and so did Aidan (O'Brien)," said Gosden.

"It's no one's fault, but it was bottomless. We used the inner track there once very successfully and when it gets very soft it should be an option."

It did not stop Addeybb, who relished the testing going, but conditions are set to be a fair bit quicker this weekend.

"I've got tons of respect for Addeybb, I think he's a wonderful horse. He's won a Champion Stakes, Grade Ones in Sydney and there is talk of some rain on Saturday afternoon. He would enjoy that, we'd be happier on anything from good to firm to good to soft," said Gosden.

"Of course then you have the big question, in this race you have the best mile-and-a-quarter three-year-old colt in Europe running (St Mark's Basilica). He's won a Dewhurst, a French Guineas and he's gone and won a Prix du Jockey Club the same as Mishriff, so it's the ultimate test of the three-year-old against his elders.

"Interestingly I always remember Lester (Piggott) saying to me the three-year-olds always have the advantage in the Eclipse with the weight-for-age. I think it has changed 1lb since then. I've never been afraid to run three-year-olds in this, nor for the matter the King George.

"Roaring Lion and Golden Horn were three when they won it (the Eclipse) and took advantage of the weight, Enable was coming back off a long lay off when she beat her old friend Magical and last year ran against Ghaiyyath, so to that extent it is always demanding, but Mishriff is a lovely horse and fits in with that type.

"We're very happy with him going in, but we're perfectly aware of the task at hand."

Former champion apprentice jockey David Egan rides in his role as retained jockey to owner Prince Faisal, although he missed the French victories through suspension and quarantine complications and was overlooked in favour of Frankie Dettori for the Champion Stakes. He was on board in Riyadh and Meydan, though.

"David has ridden him very well, he pops up on him not long before his races, he knows him well. He's a classy guy, a good rider, a good horseman and he's very intelligent with it," said Gosden.

Mishriff is currently around 7/4 with Planet Sport Bet - BET NOW

Addeybb

Addeybb is set to run whatever the ground conditions.

Trainer William Haggas is keen to get the seven-year-old track for the first time since he returned from another successful stint in Australia.

The Newmarket handler took Addeybb out of the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot due to the fast ground, but will not be swayed by conditions on this occasion.

"He's fine and he's ready to race. We've had this in mind since he got back from Australia so we're pleased to be there," Haggas told Sky Sports Racing.

"He's quite durable, but the ground on both occasions in Australia was not as soft as he'd like.

"He ran on good to firm and a soft five which is on the slow side of good, if that. He never got heavy ground and subsequently he had to fight harder, certainly in the second one (Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick), than he did the previous year.

"I don't know yet whether he's just losing it a bit or whether it was simply the ground. We know that soft ground is for him and better ground he's not quite effective on, but he's still pretty good.

"I'd be pretty loath to take him out because he needs to race. You can't keep practising on the (Newmarket) Heath and in the nets and not get out in the middle. He needs a run.

"My forecast says there's a chance of rain on Friday and on Saturday, Maureen's (wife) forecaster says the opposite so who knows, but what will be will be."

Haggas believes this year's Eclipse is living up to its billing as the first big showdown between the three-year-olds and older horses.

"This is what this race is all about. It's the clash of the generations," he said.

"Here you've got a really top-class speedier three-year-old (St Mark's Basilica) who's won two Classics and won the Dewhurst last year, so he's obviously a very good horse.

"You've got Mishriff, who won a French Derby and really excelled in Saudi Arabia and Dubai, and then our fella who keeps battling away and bashing away. He's as reliable a yardstick as you can get.

"If the ground came up soft, heavy in places, our chance would increase and maybe St Mark's Basilicia's wouldn't, so who knows what's going to happen."

Addeybb is around 4/1 with Planet Sport Bet. BET NOW!

(All odds correct at time of publication)

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