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The Coral Eclipse

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History

The Coral Eclipse Stakes, at one time Britain’s richest race, is a rarity – it’s named after a horse. Eclipse was a phenomenal 18th-century stallion, unbeaten in 18 starts. His excellence inspired the phrase “Eclipse first and the rest nowhere”, still used today to describe a dominating performance.

Fittingly, the Coral-Eclipse Stakes, run at Sandown Park over 1 mile 2 furlongs (2,000 metres) for three-year-olds and older horses, has always attracted high-quality fields. Take the first three finishers in 1903 – they shared seven Classic victories between them. That tradition has continued, with the 2009 race won by Sea The Stars, the 2000 Guineas and Derby winner (and, later in the same year, victor in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris).

The Coral-Eclipse provides the first major opportunity for three-year-olds, who have previously only raced at the top level against their own generation in races like the QIPCO 2000 and QIPCO 1000 Guineas, the Investec Derby and Investec Oaks and the St James’s Palace Stakes and Coronation Stakes, to meet their older rivals. The bookmaker Coral has sponsored the race since 1976, making it one of the longest-running sports sponsorships.

Current leading jockeys: Frankie Dettori, 3 wins (1998, 2004, 2015)
Current leading trainer: Sir Michael Stoute, 6 wins (1993, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2007, 2017)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Ghaiyyath makes all to foil Enable in the Coral-Eclipse

Godolphin star backs up Coronation Cup win by beating superstar Enable

Ghaiyyath proved himself to be a star of the highest order as he produced another superb front-running performance in an excellent renewal of the Coral-Eclipse.

A mouthwatering line-up of seven was headlined by the inclusion of superstar Enable, making her seasonal reappearance at Sandown. However, it was three-time Group 1 winner Ghaiyyath who stole the plaudits, winning in his trademark style leading all the way to foil the Gosden mare.

As many had predicted Ghaiyyath was sent forward by pilot William Buick from the stalls as has become customary, setting the early pace ahead of Japan and Deirdre in the early stages.

Turning into the straight Ghaiyyath was still out in front by two lengths and his rivals quickly began to send out distress signals with riders all beginning to push their mounts for more to close on the leader.

With two furlongs to go William Buick began to turn the screw out in front; Enable emerged from the pack to make her challenge with most of the less-fancied rivals beginning to tread water. Frankie Dettori’s mare was making inroads in the final stages, passing Japan into 2nd, but her progress was too slow and Ghaiyyath stuck to win decisively in the end.

Jockey William Buick said, “That was a great performance. He’s really grown up. He’s an amazing horse to ride, he really is.”

The versatile Godolphin colt could now look at any of the premiere middle distance races, including the Juddmonte International, the QIPCO King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and a possible final date in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

Compared to many of Britain’s leading horseracing venues, Sandown Park is ultra-modern. It’s only been in existence since 1875.

Where many courses developed gradually and informally, Sandown Park was purpose-built on the edge of London. The town planners considered an alternative use for the site – as a lunatic asylum – but thankfully opted for the horses instead.

You can see such landmarks as the London Eye, Wembley Stadium and the Gherkin from the racecourse but most fans keep their eyes firmly fixed on Sandown’s famous hill finish, the stage of many thrilling finales. Legendary jockey Fred Archer rode a winner at the inaugural meeting, while Arkle, Mill Reef and Desert Orchid – over the fences, of course – all triumphed here. Sandown was the Queen Mother’s favourite course.

Its biggest flat race, the Coral-Eclipse Stakes in early July, is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.  It’s named after the undefeated 18th century racehorse, Eclipse, who became a hugely influential stallion with 95% of modern-day thoroughbred racehorses tracing back to him through their male bloodlines.

Getting there

Portsmouth Rd,
Esher
KT10 9AJ

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View fixtures

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