The queen of the turf, Enable, makes her eagerly anticipated return in the G1 Coral-Eclipse (3.35pm) over 10 furlongs, the centrepiece of an excellent eight-race card at Sandown Park this Sunday, 5th July.
Enable (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori) has been off the track since her agonising second in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October, when she was seeking an unprecedented third success in Europe’s premier all-aged contest.
That surprise defeat brought Enable’s 12-race winning streak to an end, a run of form that comprised 10 G1 prizes including last year’s Coral-Eclipse.
Khalid Abdullah’s six-year-old is attempting to become the first dual winner of the Coral-Eclipse since Halling (1995 & 1996) and the oldest winner of the race since Bendigno captured the inaugural running in 1886.
A top-quality field for this year’s Coral-Eclipse also features Ghaiyyath (Charlie Appleby/William Buick), who drops back in distance after setting a new 12-furlong track record at Newmarket in the rearranged G1 Coronation Cup on 5 June.
The powerful front runner is a three-time winner over 10 furlongs, most recently annihilating the opposition by almost nine lengths in the G3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan, UAE, in February.
Trainer Charlie Appleby said: “Ghaiyyath is fine and worked well on Saturday morning under his regular rider Shane Fetherstonhaugh. He sat in behind his lead horse and picked up strongly.
“He is definitely a different animal this year. Post the Coronation Cup, it looks as though he is taking his races a lot better.
“It is all very well winning by these large margins, but it does take a lot out of them and in the past, he has shown the signs of that.
“This year to date, the signs have been very good, and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do at Sandown."
Japan (Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore) is aiming to rediscover the form that saw him defeat Crystal Ocean in last season’s G1 Juddmonte International at York. The four-year-old finished fourth on his comeback in the G1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Japanese mare Deirdre (Mitsuru Hashida/Oisin Murphy) has captured the hearts of many racing fans with a string of consistent performances around the world, headlined by an historic success in last season’s G1 Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. The six-year-old has not raced since finishing second in a lucrative conditions race on the Saudi Cup undercard at Riyadh in February.
Japan’s stablemate Magic Wand (Aidan O’Brien/Padraig Beggy), successful in the G2 Lanwades Stud Stakes at the Curragh, has also racked up the air miles. She defeated the boys in Australia’s G1 Mackinnon Stakes in November before going on to finish second in the G1 Hong Kong Cup and Pegasus Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park in the USA.
Sir Michael Stoute is the joint most successful trainer in the Coral-Eclipse with six triumphs. The Newmarket handler saddles last year’s third Regal Reality (Jim Crowley), who filled the same position in the Listed Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot on his first start since being gelded.
The seven runners are completed by G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes fifth Bangkok (Andrew Balding/Silvestre de Sousa).
Coral-Eclipse - Coral prices: 11/10 Enable; 9/4 Ghaiyyath; 4/1 Japan; 18/1 Magic Wand; 22/1 Deirdre; 25/1 Regal Reality; 80/1 Bangkok
The Coral-Eclipse is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Sandown Park’s eight-race programme, which includes four other stakes races, starts 1.15pm and ends at 5.10pm.
The other Pattern race at Sandown Park on Sunday are the G3 Coral Charge (5f, 1.50pm, 12 runners) and the G3 Coral Henry Stakes (2m 50y, 5 runners), in which 2018 Melbourne Cup hero Cross Counter (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) goes to post.
Action gets underway at 1.15pm with the Listed Coral Beaten By A Length Freebet Dragon Stakes over five furlongs for two-year-olds (9 runners). Further Listed action comes in the Listed Coral Gala Stakes (4.05pm, 7 runners).
The going at Sandown Park is currently: Good, Good to Soft in places.
GoingStick readings at 8.00am today:
Round Course: 7.2
Straight Course: 7.0
There has been a total of 19 millimetres of rain since last Saturday (June 27). There is a chance of some light rain tonight into Saturday, while Sunday is predicted to be dry.