Coral Eclipse Stakes tips – Runner-by-runner preview of Sunday’s feature Group One

Enable: The queen of the turf could take in the Yorkshire OaksEnable: The queen of the turf could take in the Yorkshire Oaks

All eyes will be on Sandown on Sunday as superstar mare Enable returns to the track. We’ve assessed her chances and that of her rivals as we take a runner-by-runner look at the big-race field and give our Coral Eclipse Stakes tips.

After two cracking Classic races on Saturday at Epsom, the Group One action on Sunday heads to Sandown where the Coral Eclipse Stakes takes place and the summer feature is headed by the return of dual-Arc heroine and superstar mare Enable who will bid to retain her Sandown crown before a history-making bid for a third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe later in the season.

Getting underway at 3.35pm John Gosden’s star will take on a star-studded field of six rivals including recent runaway winner Ghaiyyath and multiple Group One winner Japan who will both surely offer stiff resistance to the top class mare on her return to action.

We’ve taken a look at each of the runners going to post for an unmissable Group One contest and give our Coral-Eclipse Stakes tips for Sunday’s feature race.

SANDOWN CORAL ECLIPSE STAKES TIPS – SUNDAY 5 JULY

ENABLE


Dual-Arc heroine who saw her bid for a third straight title in France thwarted by Waldgeist, going down by just under two lengths although the very soft ground might just have gone against her.

Prior to that defeat she had only been beaten one in her career, racking up 12 straight wins which included 10 Group Ones. One of those victories came in this race twelve months ago on her seasonal return and she remains the one to beat here.

Better ground will be no issue as she sets out on the road to Lonchamp and she’ll take plenty of beating if fully revved up on her first run in nine months in receipt of 3lbs.

GHAIYYATH


Looked a very smart juvenile who took his form up a notch last term, winning twice which included a wide-margin success in a German Group One contest prior to beating only two home in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe although he was perhaps another casualty of the ground that day.

Charlie Appleby’s charge returned to winning ways at Meydan in February, scoring by eight lengths to take a Group Three contest and she stepped up again to win the rescheduled Coronation Cup with a defeat of Anthony Van Dyck latest.

That form perhaps can’t be taken seriously given the runner-up was turned over next time, while the third horse home was running over a trip far short of his best. But he nevertheless turned in an eye-catching performance from the front and if allowed his own way up front again then he could prove hard to peg back.

Ghaiyyath will likely set the Coral Eclipse pace.

Ghaiyyath will likely set the Coral Eclipse pace.

JAPAN


Took his form to new heights last term, finishing third in the Epsom Derby prior to reeling off a hat-trick od wins which included a defeat of Crystal Ocean when dropped back to this distance in the Juddmonte International.

One of two runners in the race for Aidan O’Brien he ran well for fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe behind Waldgeist and he possibly just needed his reappearance when finishing fourth at Royal Ascot recently behind Lord North.

That will likely have him spot on now and he can do better. The strong pace likely to be set by Ghaiyyath will suit and with the benefit of a run he could be capable of exposing any chinks in the Enable armour.

MAGIC WAND


Second of the Aidan O’Brien-trained runners in the race, the Galileo mare was kept busy last term but only managed one success from her 13 runs in 2019. That win came in an Australian Group One contest having earlier finished runner-up in both the Arlington Million and the Irish Champion Stakes.

She made a winning return to action in a Group Two contest at the Curragh last month, beating Hamariyna in the Lanwades Stud Stakes and she can build on that effort although she arguably isn’t quite at this level and she was readily brushed aside by Enable in last season’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

While she’ll no doubt give a good account of herself back in a Group One, she may just come up short again.

DEIRDRE


High-class Japanese mare who caused a shock when taking the Group One Nassau Stakes last term, beating Mehdaayih. The Harbinger mare showed that to be no fluke with good efforts in defeat behind Magical in both the Irish Champion Stakes and Qipco Champion Stakes before registering another solid run in the Hong Kong Vase.

She found only one too good on her last start, beaten a nose behind Port Lions although she was sent off at a long-odds on to land that prize.

Her record back from breaks doesn’t read particularly well and she might find a couple too good although it wouldn’t be a surprise to see another bold effort even if likely to come up short.

Could Japanese raider Deirdre cause a Coral Eclipse shock?

Could Japanese raider Deirdre (far left) cause a Coral Eclipse shock?

REGAL REALITY


Won the Brigadier Gerard Stakes over course and distance last term but subsequently brushed aside by both Enable in this contest and Japan in the Juddmote International at York; she might have found the ground too soft when beating only one home behind Magical on her final run of the campaign in the Qipco Champion Stakes.

Sir Michael Stoute’s charge ran well in defeat on her reappearance in the Wolferton Stakes, beaten around three lengths behind Mountain Angel where the ground again was probably against him and he can do better here back on a quicker surface although the Intello gelding will certainly need to raise his game again back at this level and this is arguably a stronger renewal than the one he finished third in twelve months ago.

BANGKOK


Smart performer who can spoil his chance by racing keenly and he perhaps hasn’t hit the heights expected as a result.

Last season’s Classic Trial winner bounced back from his Epsom Derby flop to chase home Japan at Royal Ascot and he got back on the winning trail when taking the Winter Derby Trial before disappointing in the race proper and he’ll need to step up considerably on his recent fifth behind Lord North in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.

The Australia colt has had his limitations exposed at this top level on more than one occasion and it would be a surprise to see him involved at the finish although the likely strong pace might help him to settle better.

CORAL-ECLIPSE STAKES BIG RACE VERDICT


The improving Ghaiyyath is likely to set out to make every post a winning one which will suit both Japan and ENABLE; John Gosden’s superstar mare though is taken to make a winning reappearance in preparation for a bid for a third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe crown.

The Nathaniel mare took this race twelve months ago on her seasonal debut and the eleven-times Group One winner remains the one to beat even on her return where she will be conceding race-fitness to both the Godolphin trailblazer and Aidan O’Brien’s Japan who looked in need of the run last time and will prove sharper for that run.

Both are respected but the concession of 3lbs to Enable is enough to see her earn the vote and if her top trainer has his top star fully revved up on her return then she can collect a second Coral Eclipse crown with this better ground more to her liking than the mud on which she contested when last seen.

Assuming Ghaiyyath doesn’t slip his rivals then he could set the race up for Gosden’s superstar who can run down the Godolphin horse late in the day to successfully hold onto her title.