ESHER, ENGLAND - MAY 26: Ryan Moore riding Workforce (R) win The Piper Heidsieck Champagne Brigadier Gerard Stakes from Poet and Adam Kirby at Sandown racecourse on May 26, 2011 in Esher, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images)
This year's Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park didn't draw the biggest field, but it did draw two of the top names in Europe in Workforce (GB) and So You Think (NZ), along with a talented filly in the form of Snow Fairy (IRE). Run at approximately 10 furlongs, the Coral-Eclipse will go to post at 3:10am British Time (10:10am Eastern) and will be televised on both TVG and HRTV.
The ground at Sandown is currently rate "GOOD" and "Good to Firm" in places.
||J. Fortune||M. Stoute||150/1|
|2||3||So You Think (NZ)
||S. Heffernan||A. O'Brien||4/5|
|3||5||Sri Putra (GB)
||N. Callan||R. Varian||33/1|
||R. Moore||M. Stoute||7/4|
|5||4||Snow Fairy (IRE)
||J. Murtagh||E. Dunlop||9/1|
Races at a mile and a quarter at Sandown start near the highest point of the course and require a mostly downhill run to the turn, which is the lowest point. The field will then make its way back uphill towards the finish line. The downhill portion of the early part of the race should help those horses that like to run near the lead to conserve energy, something difficult to do when compared to an early uphill climb, like at Epsom. But like most courses in Europe, the final furlongs will test every horse in the field to stay on until the wire.
Track diagram via the Racing Post
Confront is the longest shot in the Eclipse field, according to English bookmakers, and it's not difficult to see why. He won his last race but that was merely a handicap at York in June against a group of horses no where near the class of this field. Prior to that, Confront was beaten soundly in multiple tries against top competition, with a win in the Group 3 Nayef Joel Stakes at Newmarket his only success at the Group level. Furthermore, he's never won a race going longer than nine furlongs. So why is Confront in this race? Well, he's got a bit of speed to him and he's a stablemate of Workforce; he'll be attempting to soften up So You Think for the Arc winner.
It's hard to call a 2nd place finish in a Group 1 race disappointing, but that's probably the most accurate term to describe So You Think's performance in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot. So You Think was incredibly dominant while racing in Australia and showed much of that same dominance in his first two starts in Europe. In the Prince of Wales's, however, he came up short to Rewilding (GB) in the stretch after going off at odds of approximately 1/2. The New Zealand-bred displayed a good amount of early pace at Royal Ascot and he figures to show much of the same in this race.
Sri Putra hasn't found the winner's circle since April of 2010 when he won the Group 3 Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket. Since that time he's generally struggled to keep up at the highest level but has found enough form to run solid races on occasion, including a 3rd to Rewilding (GB) last time out in the G1-Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot. He was six lengths back of 2nd place So You Think on that day.
Workforce finished off his impressive 2010 campaign (in which he won the Epsom Derby) with a win in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe last October before scratching out of the Breeders' Cup Turf due to concerns over the ground. He began 2011 with a win in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown in late May.
Snow Fairy is a four-year-old filly coming off back-to-back Group 1 wins at Sha Tin (G1-Hong Kong Cup) and Kyoto (G1-QEII Commemorative Cup) to close out her 2010 campaign. She is a four-time Group 1 winner in Asia and Europe.