ITV Racing Tips: Mishriff the pick in Eclipse Stakes clash of generations
There is a summer showpiece most weekends now but only a few with the prestige of the Coral-Eclipse Stakes.
The Sandown Group 1 is significant because, excluding sprints, it is the first opportunity in the season for the Classic generation to meet their elders, and goes a long way to establishing the standard of this year’s three-year-old crop.
Disappointingly there are only four runners but single-figure fields have become the norm for this contest.
So St Mark’s Basilica, winner of France’s version of the 2,000 Guineas and Derby, is put to the test against Mishriff and Addeybb, whose overseas exploits have made them worldwide stars. It will be a stiff examination for the Ballydoyle colt.
The shoulder races include a competitive sprint, the Group 3 Coral Charge, while at Haydock the feature is the Group 2 bet365 Lancashire Oaks, which has drawn Oaks second Mystery Angel, and the bet365 Old Newton Cup.
They will comprise a seven-race schedule which will be shown on ITV from 13.25. We have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.
Battaash won this race as a three-year-old and Atalis Bay will be aiming to do the same having already captured the Scurry Stakes over course and distance, which the champion sprinter also won.
Three-year-olds have a good recent record, landing seven of the last ten runnings, and Atalis Bay is one of only two of that age in the field. He won with something in hand last time but must improve again to beat opponents of the likes of Arecibo, runner-up in the King’s Stand Stakes.
Lazuli won the Scurry last year but was only fifth in this. He has won two Group 3 races since. The latest came at the expense of Came From The Dark, who was an unlucky second in the Palace House Stakes. If he can overcome a wide draw, Came From The Dark could be the one to keep an eye on.
Last year’s winner of this handicap Montatham carries top weight and among a field of horses who have regularly contested Group races is Accidental Agent, the former winner of the Queen Anne Stakes who again ran with credit in this year’s edition of the Royal Ascot Group 1.
It could be asking a lot of them to return to winning form here and the winner could come from one of the many that ran in the Royal Hunt Cup last time.
Layfayette, sixth at Ascot, did the form no harm when winning a Listed prize this week. Trais Fluors can give it another boost. He was denied a run several times at Ascot, finishing tenth, and the booking of Oisin Murphy is a positive.
Only four runners but a win for any one of Mishriff, St Mark’s Basilica or Addeybb would be an acceptable outcome. Tactics could be key with no clear front-runner in the line-up, unless outsider El Drama goes on.
St Mark’s Basilica has emerged as Ballydoyle’s best three-year-old colt with the rest of his stablemates in the division so far proving to be a disappointing bunch. He has been winning in France and, though Poetic Flare was one of his victims on heavy ground, he may not have been beating an awful lot.
In receipt of a 10lb weight-for-age allowance he may not have a better chance to bloody the noses of Mishriff and Addeybb. But those two are seasoned campaigners. Addeybb has completed two trips to Australia, winning three of his four starts in determined fashion, and won the Champion Stakes at the end of last year, in which Mishriff suffered his last defeat. That came on very soft ground, ideal for Addeybb, not so much Mishriff.
Mishriff has since won the Saudi Cup and the Dubai Sheema Classic. He defeated two Japanese mares who have each won at Group 1 level since at Meydan. He is one of the best in the world, and he should prove it.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday 3rd July
13:50 Sandown – Charge Stakes
14:05 Haydock – 1m6f handicap
14:25 Sandown – 1m handicap
14:40 Haydock – Lancashire Oaks
15:00 Sandown – Distaff Stakes
15:15 Haydock – Old Newton Cup
15:35 Sandown – Eclipse Stakes
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing