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2019 Coral-Eclipse tips – 7/2 shot offers Magical value in Sandown's seasonal highlight

Roaring Lion (centre) winning last year's edition of the Coral-Eclipse.

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this historic Group One at Sandown and provides readers with his ante-post tips.

Since it's inaugural running at Sandown Park in 1886, the Coral-Eclipse has become one of the most important and prestigious races on the entire flat-racing calendar. For the first time in the season, three-year-olds will lock horns with their elders in Group One company, adding a fascinating dimension to the Coral-Eclipse and all-but guaranteeing a spectacular race. The Coral-Eclipse is my favourite race on the level!

After missing the Coronation Cup and all of Royal Ascot, John Gosden identified the Coral-Eclipse as a likely starting point for dual-Arc heroine, Enable's (4/5 Coral) triumphant return. Last season, Enable didn't appear until the start of September, but she proved her star quality by retaining her Arc crown before travelling to American to claim the Breeders' Cup Turf title. 

Some would call it foolish to side against John Gosden's all-conquering stable star. Yet, Enable hasn’t run over a mile-and-a-quarter since her losing reappearance as a three-year-old and the prospect of fast-ground may put the ball in a speedier sort's court. If Enable does feature in the final list of entries, I'd be keen to take her on.

I fancied Magical (7/2 Coral) to continue her excellent seasonal form at Ascot and the likes of beat Crystal Ocean in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. Ryan Moore looked to be angling his filly out for a crack at the leader two furlongs from home, but Frankie Dettori’s mount proved a little too hardy to pass in the closing stages. This seems to be Magical’s optimum trip and fast ground brought the best out of Aidan O’Brien’s dual-Group One winner at the Curragh back in May. Magical pushed Enable right to the line out in America during the autumn and Sandown attendees could be in for another titanic battle this weekend.

Regal Reality (5/1 Coral) took to this trip extremely well when scoring over course-and-distance last month, comfortably seeing off Matterhorn to land the Brigadier Gerard Stakes. Whether he has the quality to step up and make an impact in this Group One is debatable, but that was a career-best effort and Stoute is the winning-most trainer in this contest, so any runner of his has to be respected.

Sir Michael also looks set to send Lockinge winner, Mustashry (8/1 Coral) to Sandown, after he failed to build on that Newbury win at Royal Ascot. Mustashry struggled to find any finishing pace when finishing seventh in the Queen Anne. He had quickened away nicely on much faster ground to win the Lockinge and Mustashry is a previous course-and-distance winner, so stepping up beyond the mile may not be a bad plan.

Although fancied horses have an excellent record in this Group One, there have been placers at 50/1 and 100/1 during the past five years, so it's worth looking at the bottom of the market to find some value. Zabeel Prince (20/1 Coral) looks the obvious each-way punt, despite a lacklustre performance in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes. Roger Varian may regret his decision to point the Prix d'Ispahan at Wednesday's feature race instead of the Queen Anne, especially when the ground came up as soft as it did, and his price of 33/1 looks extremely attractive.

Three-year-olds may have come out on top in three of the past four editions of the Coral-Eclipse, but I'm finding it very difficult to weight up Circus Maximus and I wouldn't want to back him at such a short price. Enable will likely be pushed into an odds-on price when Frankie Dettori is declared in the saddle. There was, however, only three-quarters of a length between her and MAGICAL at the Breeders' Cup and, with race-fitness and ground in her corner, I fancy Aidan O'Brien's filly could turn the tables on Enable at the weekend.

I was quite surprised to see Magical dropped back in trip at the start of the season, especially when she saw out a-mile-and-a-half so well at the Breeders' Cup and when winning the Fillies & Mares' on Champions' Day. True, she faced little in the way of competition during the first part of the season, but Magical proved she had more than enough speed to prosper over ten furlongs and her Tattersalls Gold Cup triumph was visually very impressive.

Magical may have come up just short in her bid to win the Prince Of Wales's at Royal Ascot, but the rain-sodden ground put the ball firmly in Crystal Ocean's court that day and Ryan Moore's mount ran a very respectable race to beat Waldgeist into second. This looks to be her optimum trip, fast ground won't be a bother and the turning, right-handed track here at Sandown could also suit this hardy filly. At 7/2, Magical is the best bet in this year's Coral-Eclipse. 

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2019 Coral-Eclipse tips – 7/2 shot offers Magical value in Sandown's seasonal highlight

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this historic Group One at Sandown and provides readers with his ante-post tips on Saturday 6th July.

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