Horn To Blow Rivals Away At Sandown
There will be a packed house at Sandown on Saturday when racegoers will get to see the Derby winner, Golden Horn, attempting to defend his unbeaten record in the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes (3.45).
It’s a fascinating clash that pitches John Gosden’s 3yo against older horses for the first time, and the market suggests backers envisage Golden Horn will be 5-5 come Saturday teatime, as he lines-up the 3/10 favourite.
Another Golden Group 1?
Having beaten the subsequent Irish Derby winner, Jack Hobbs, by almost 3l in York’s Derby Trial in May (1m2f, good), Golden Horn then improved upon that in beating the same rival over 3l in the Derby at Epsom (1m4f, good to firm). To say that form was franked is an understatement, with Jack Hobbs winning at the Curragh last weekend,
and the fact Golden Horn has speed, stamina, while handling most ground suggests it would take a good one to lower his colours on Saturday.
Grey To Lower Horn’s Colours?
One such runner attempting to upset the odds is Kevin Ryan’ The Grey Gatsby (7/2), a dual Group 1 winner over 1m2f last season, who almost added another when an agonizingly close runner-up to Free Eagle in last month’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot (Western Hymn was almost 3l back in third).
Had The Grey Gatsby not been blocked inside the final furlong that day then he may well have won, and it’s interesting to note that 8 of the last 10 Eclipse winners came via Ascot…
Of the last 10 Eclipse winners…
10 were officially rated 119+ or 0 (non-British)
10 were drawn away from stall 1 on the inside
10 ran in a Group 1 last time – others were 0-25
10 made the top five last time
9 ran over 1m2f or shorter last time
8 arrived via Ascot
A O’Brien won it 8 times
The Grey Gatsby’s consistency (won or runner-up 10 times in 14 runs), could make him of each-way appeal to punters, though some maybe prefer to give Aidan O’Brien’s Cougar Mountain (12/1) another chance.
Will Cougar Have The Stamina?
Yet to visit the winner’s enclosure since landing his maiden last summer, this 4yo colt bounced back to form when third in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot last month (1m, good). Outpaced in the straight, Cougar Mountain picked up nicely to finish with a real flourish, beaten just over 1l by Solow. This represents a step up in trip, but he wasn’t stopping that day at Ascot.
As for Golden Horn’s stablemate, Western Hymn (12/1), then he was a Group 3 winner over C&D on fast ground in May (Tullius beaten 7l), prior to being put in his place by The Grey Gatsby at Royal Ascot to the tune of 3l. On that form alone, Western Hymn has a bit to find on Saturday.
The record of Derby winners in the Eclipse during the last 10 years stands at two seconds and a win from three representatives, and Golden Horn looks good enough to emulate Sea The Stars in 2009. His form in beating Jack Hobbs looks bomb-proof.
*Prices correct at time of publication