Friday, July 7, 2017

Coral-Eclipse Stakes - Classic Generation to the test

The Coral-Eclipse is the first serious clash between the Classic generation and the older brigade at the intermediate distance of 10 furlongs. This is a race where this year's 3-year olds can confirm themselves as a very solid bunch. It is just too bad that the creme de la creme of the older division will not be there; there will be no Minding, no Jack Hobbs, no Almanzor to name the least. I thus expect a 3-year old to rule this and the three obvious from the list are Barney Roy, Eminent and Cliff of Moher.

Barney Roy is undoubtedly a top-class miler. He avenged his only loss in 4 outings by convincingly beating Churchill (and a bunch of others) at Royal Ascot. They way he has finished his races suggests that a mile and a quarter will not be too much of a stretch for him. While he is very much on the upgrade, his main challenge is to remain relaxed; he will need to in order to see out the distance. On his best form, he is the horse to beat.

Eminent ran very well in finishing 4th in the Derby and the mile and a quarter looks his optimum distance. While he got beaten in both British Classics, he was not disgraced by any means. He is a very good 3-year old which I believe will run a big race on Saturday.

Cliff of Moher hit the front in the Derby only to touched off by Wings of Eagle in the final strides. This prompted the Ballydoyle connections and many to conclude that he did not fully see out the full mile of a half of Epsom. I have my reservations on that; if he had come out on top, chances are that mostly everyone would have said he is a proper 12 furlong horse. I think he is and he just got outgunned by a better out-and-out stayer on the day. I am not convinced the Coral-Eclipse distance is his best one.

From the older generation, mention goes to Ulysses who ran a respectable race at Ascot but does not seem to have the class to be amongst the very top. I see it as a battle between Barney Roy and Eminent, with a slight preference going to the former.

Win: Barney Roy
Place: Eminent

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