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The Coral Eclipse

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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 trainers: Sir Michael Stoute, 5 wins (1993, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2007); Aidan O’Brien, 5 wins (2000, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money




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


Ulysses edges home in eventful renewal

Sir Michael Stoute gained a record-equalling sixth success in the Coral-Eclipse as Ulysses beat Barney Roy by the smallest of margins at Sandown on Saturday.

Ulysses, ridden by champion jockey Jim Crowley, officially won by a nose at 8-1 but if the judge had the option of using the term “a flared nostril” he might well have gone for that option.

The principals flashed past the post as one in the QIPCO British Champions Series £500,000 showpiece – clear of Desert Encounter, who kept on from the rear to claim third. Cliffs Of Moher, the Derby runner-up, was fourth after suffering interference on the first bend with Eminent, fourth at Epsom, occupying fifth.

It was an incident-packed renewal in which three jockeys found themselves in trouble with the stewards. Padraig Beggy, the rider of Taj Mahal, picked up an eight-day ban for careless riding and Silvestre De Sousa, aboard Eminent, got two days for the same offence.

Meanwhile, James Doyle used his whip above the permitted level on Barney Roy and, because he has been a repeat offender in recent months, was referred to the BHA.

Just for good measure, Stoute was fined £1,000 as the stewards ruled the regally bred Ulysses had entered the parade ring after the signal to mount had been given.

The trainer was gaining his second win this year’s Series, after the win of Dartmouth in the Yorkshire Cup, and he said: “I felt from the furlong marker he was always holding him, but my angle was bad and I didn’t have any idea if he had won or not, so it was a relief. It was nerve wracking for a while.

“He is a very consistent, game horse and he has only ever had one blip in his life and that was in the Derby when he got turned over twice. He has never run a bad race.”

Asked about future plans, the trainer added: “Let’s go home and see how he is in 10 days’ time. I wouldn’t rule out going back up to a mile and a half.”

Crowley said: “When you become champion jockey these are the races you should be and want to be winning. It’s number one. I’ve had Group One winners at Ascot, but the Eclipse it’s one of the big ones you want to win.”

Barney Roy, runner-up in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas before going one better in the St James’s Palace Stakes, stayed the extra two furlongs well and Richard Hannon, his trainer, said: “He is good horse and he is getting better. We are delighted, he has run a super race. He was just shade unlucky. I’m very proud of him and the team, it was a good effort.

“He will be a very good middle-distance horse for this year and next year. He is in a lot of good races.”


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,
KT10 9AJ

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