Coral Eclipse

The Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park is one of the most prestigious middle-distance races in Europe.

It often features a clash of the generations with top three-year-olds taking on their elders for the first time.

Notable Eclipse winners include Mill Reef (1971), Brigadier Gerard (1972), Dancing Brave (1986), Sea The Stars (2009) and Enable (2019).

Coral Eclipse

Coral Eclipse Group 1 – The Race Overview

The Eclipse takes place in early July over ten furlongs (officially 1m 1f 209y).

Sandown Park is a right-hand track with an uphill finish which can test a horse’s stamina, particularly in fast-run races. It can be difficult to make up a lot of ground here and horses that race prominently have a good record in this race.

Famous Coral Eclipse Winners & Coral Eclipse History

The Group 1 Eclipse Stakes is named after a racehorse who retired undefeated after 18 races in the eighteenth Century. He went on to become one of the most influential stallions in the history of horse racing.

The Eclipse Stakes was launched as Britain’s richest ever race in 1886 with victory going to Bendigo.

Ayrshire became the first Derby winner to win the Eclipse in 1889 and it has consistently attracted top quality fields. Coral took over sponsorship of the race in 1976, making it the longest-running sponsored Pattern race in Britain.

There have been five dual winners of the Eclipse Stakes. Mtoto won in 1987 and 1988 with Halling being the most recent to record back-to-back Eclipse victories in 1995 and 1996. Enable attempted to add her name to the list in 2020 but was denied a second success by the front-running Ghaiyyath. The winner provided a sixth victory for Godolphin, the most successful owners in the history of the race.

The Eclipse rivals the Irish Derby as the next objective for Epsom Derby winners. A Grade 1 victory over ten furlongs is attractive to the breeding industry and Nashwan (1989), Sea The Stars (2009) and Golden Horn (2015) all dropped back in distance to win this race.

Derby winners beaten here include Erhaab (1994), Benny The Dip (1997), Motivator (2005) and Authorized (2007).

Key Coral Eclipse Trials

The Eclipse Stakes betting market is often dominated by Classic colts from the Derby and 2000 Guineas.

As well as often attracting the Derby winner, colts that did not stay a mile and a half at Epsom frequently run here. Roaring Lion (2018) was a classic example of this, not quite able to stay the Derby distance but proving to be a champion at this trip.

Hawk Wing (2002) had been beaten by stable companion High Chaparral in the Epsom Classic before winning here.

2005 winner Oratorio also ran in the Derby and finished only tenth behind Motivator. He caused an upset by reversing the form in the Eclipse.

Top races at Royal Ascot also provide clues to the outcome of the Coral Eclipse. The Queen Anne Stakes and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes feature in the key trials.

Coral Eclipse Betting Trends

Favourites have a good record in the Eclipse, winning five of the last ten renewals.

So You Think (2011), Golden Horn (2015) and Enable (2019) all started odds-on favourite.

Al Kazeem (2013) and Roaring Lion (2018) were also heavily-backed market leaders.

Most recent winners have returned in single figures with Mukhadram (14-1) providing the only real surprise in 2014. He had finished an unlucky fourth behind The Fugue in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot but turned that form around at Sandown.

Coral Eclipse Stats

  • Previous winning form at Group 1 level is often a pre-requisite for the Eclipse.
  • Most winners had an official rating of 119 or higher and arrived at Sandown fit from a recent race.
  • It is extremely difficult to win here after a lengthy absence. Enable overcame at 245-day absence to win in 2019 but was unable to repeat the performance after 273 days in 2020.
  • Winning form at ten furlongs or beyond is also an advantage when assessing Coral Eclipse tips. Top milers to suffer defeat here include The Gurkha who was a beaten odds-on favourite in 2016. Rain-softened ground stretched his stamina and he was beaten by Hawkbill before dropping back to a mile to win the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
  • Enable was only the third mare to win the Eclipse after Pebbles (1985) and Kooyonga (1992).
  • Top class fillies and mares beaten here include Triptych, Indian Skimmer and Ouija Board.
  • Five-year-olds have an excellent Eclipse record but no horse older than five has managed to win since Bendigo in 1886.

Top Trainers and Jockeys

Sir Michael Stoute equalled Alec Taylor Jr’s record of six Eclipse victories when Ulysses won in 2017. His previous winners were Opera House (1993), Ezzoud (1994), Pilsudski (1996), Medicean (2001) and Notnowcato (2007).

Aidan O’Brien has five Eclipse winners to his credit including Giant’s Causeway (2000) and Hawk Wing (2002). His most recent success came with So You Think in 2011.

John Gosden has been the most successful trainer in recent years, scoring with Nathaniel (2012), Golden Horn (2015), Roaring Lion (2018) and Enable (2019).

Lester Piggott won the Eclipse a record seven times, his last coming aboard Artaius in 1977.

Betting on the Coral Eclipse 2021

There is always a strong ante-post market on the Eclipse Stakes. It is often the target for some of the highest-rated horses in training.

The market is heavily influenced by events in the Epsom Derby and at Royal Ascot, although you should wait for running plans to be confirmed before placing your Eclipse bets.

The result of the Eclipse will have a big impact on the ante-post betting for the big ten furlong races later in the summer, notably the International Stakes at York and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. John Gosden trained Roaring Lion to win all three races in 2018.

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Summary

The Coral Eclipse is the highlight of the flat racing season at Sandown. It is always a high-quality event.

The roll of honour is littered with many star names of the turf and it is always an exciting betting race. The form usually holds up well and can be followed with confidence for the rest of the season.