I am going up nice and early for the weekend as I have a wedding shindig to enjoy with Mr Darren Burns marrying the lovely Michelle Nightingale - still do not know how he get himself such a stunner! Anyhow back to trying to nick a few quid.
It is the Group One Coral-Eclipse at Sandown this Saturday at 3.35 and though a few that were entered won’t be lining-up it is still a very impressive list of thoroughbreds that face the one-mile-two-furlongs. The Sandown showpiece traditionally provides three-year-olds with their first opportunity to take on their elders at the highest level. With the weight-for-age scale at this early stage of the season the Classic generation still have a pretty big advantage (even after the revision put in place from the start of this season) and Decorated Knight, Desert Encounter, Lightning Spear and Ulysses will be shouldering fully 10lb more than the youngsters and look up against it.
Martyn Meade had the services of Silvestre De Sousa booked early for his stable star Eminent. Sixth in the 2,000 and fourth in the Derby you can expect to see him up the pointed end from the start with the trainer saying "We want to be handy as we know he has got the stamina and we want to play on that strength - we know he has got the speed because of the Craven win.” Talking earlier his week the jockey said "He won the Craven, he ran really well in the Guineas and ran well in the Derby. I'm delighted to have got the ride on him. It looks like he'll go there with a chance." I think it could come down to Godolphin versus Ballydoyle again though. The Richard Hannon trained Barney Roy is the sole Godolphin owned colt left in and he of course was runner-up to Churchill in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, but reversed the form when landing the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. He will step up to a mile and a quarter for the first time. Hannon told the Telegraph in the week "He doesn't need any work and has come out of the St James's Palace great. I can't say I'm very confident he'll get a mile and a quarter, but there's every chance.” It should be noted the colt was also in the Group One Prix Jean Prat over a mile at Chantilly on Sunday so the trainer must feel fairly confident he will get the extra two furlongs. Aiden O’Brien trained Cliffs Of Moher has had this race as his target ever since filling the runner-up spot in the Epsom Derby. This might just be his distance, won the Listed Dee Stakes at Chester prior to the Derby, and Taj Mahal is clearly here to insure he gets the sort of pace he wants. Having had a nice rest since Epsom whilst Barney Roy was busy at Ascot I just favour the Ballydoyle colt and have a bit of the 2-1. Talking earlier this week O’brien said "We've been very happy with him since Epsom. It was a mile and a quarter when he won at Chester (Dee Stakes) and then we went to the mile and a half at Epsom. Maybe the last 50 yards caught him between fitness and maybe getting the trip. We're looking forward to seeing him run over a mile and a quarter."
Magical Memory has his first start outside of Group class in quite some time up at Haydock. Charlie Hills has is giving the five-year-old what he must hope will be a confidence boosting outing in the bet365 Conditions Stakes over six due off at 3.50. The five-year-old was a very disappointing last in the G.1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot but the trainer has said since "Nothing at all came to light after Ascot. He scoped well and there is just a question mark why he ran like that. He is still in the July Cup and he could well still go there. We will see what happens on Saturday." Anywhere near his best and the grey wins hard held, hence the price will be skinny so grab the best you can see when the satchel swingers chalk up.
On Sunday across the channel Thunder Snow, a horse I have been on a couple of times this season including out in Dubai, is off on his travels again this time to Chantilly and will be flying the flag for Godolphin in the Group One Prix Jean Prat at 3.35. Having won the G.3 UAE 2,000 and G.2 UAE Derby whilst out in Dubai at the start of the season the colt was unrideable in the G.1 Kentucky Derby during May and I can only presume the American air didn’t suit. Back this side of the pond he has been back to form and finished second in the G.1 Irish 2,000 and third in the G.1 St James's Palace Stakes. On that form he looks to have a big chance in this against only three others; Andre Fabre's Trais Fluors, the Freddy Head-trained Gold Luck and Francis-Henri Graffard's Lightupthenight. My advise would be get on at the best price you can find before settling down to your Sunday roast and enjoy ;o)