Coral-Eclipse predictions: Bay Bridge to overcome youthful challengers

Enda McElhinney
Spotlight
Sir Michael Stoute's Bay Bridge can bounce back from defeat at Royal Ascot against young guns Vadeni and Native Trail
Sir Michael Stoute's Bay Bridge can bounce back from defeat at Royal Ascot against young guns Vadeni and Native Trail

This afternoon's Coral-Eclipse presents a generational clash between some of the best three-year-old colts and their more experienced rivals. 

The Group 1 feature at Sandown Park is worth just shy of £450,000 to winning connections and has been won by the likes of Giant's Causeway, Sea The Stars, Golden Horn and Enable this century.

There are two leading three-year-old's gunning for glory in this year's Eclipse and they face a quartet of older rivals eager for Group 1 glory. 

Coming of age for three-year-old duo

Four of the last seven editions of the Eclipse have been won by three-year-olds, with Golden Horn, Hawkbill, Roaring Lion and St Mark's Basilica all triumphing since 2015. 

By contrast, Sea The Stars (2009) was the only Classic-generation winner in a nine-year span previous to that. 

Young hopes this year rest on Vadeni and Native Trail — Classic winners in their own right already. 

Jean-Claude Rouget's Vadeni was very impressive in the French Derby at Chantilly last month but the Churchill colt will be racing on the fastest ground he has encountered here and this looks a deeper race on paper.

Native Trail was turned over on his comeback in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket by stablemate Coroebus but last season's champion juvenile has been to the Curragh since and won the Irish Guineas.

He was expected to win there and, while it was never really in doubt, it was more workmanlike than explosive. 

More is needed here but Charlie Appleby's Oasis Dream colt might be the best of the youngsters. 

Mishriff and Alenquer renew battle

Of the four older horses, Mishriff and Alenquer have achieved the most. 

John and Thady Gosden's five-year-old Mishriff was very impressive in the Juddmonte International at York last summer, dispatching Alenquer by six lengths.

Valid excuses were offered for his spring flop in Saudi Arabia and he is likely to be much more on his game now, according to his training team. 

That said, things may play to Alenquer's strengths here and the William Haggas-Tom Marquand team could scarcely be in better form. 

With an absence of pace, Marquand may elect to make the running. 

Alenquer was very good in one previous Sandown start and arrives on the back of a Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup win in Ireland on his first run as a four-year-old. 

He could be hard to get past late on. 

Lord North seems to have lost his way and six-year-old winners of this race are few and very far between. 

Moore's Bridge to glory

Sir Michael Stoute has won the Eclipse six times previously
Sir Michael Stoute has won the Eclipse six times previously

Which leaves BAY BRIDGE for Ryan Moore and Sir Michael Stoute as the choice for glory. 

An ultra-impressive winner of the Brigadier Gerard Stakes here in May, he was surprisingly beaten at Ascot in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes by State Of Rest. 

Strictly speaking, that gives Alenquer an advantage but that Ascot race was a very tactical affair and Ryan Moore perhaps would have moved close to the front-running winner earlier if he had another opportunity. 

Bay Bridge closed late but could not overhaul State Of Rest in a dash to the line. 

Moore is adept tactically and if there is not sufficient early pace, he will not be afraid to go and make his own running. 

After a learning curve on his maiden Group 1 appearance, Bay Bridge can prove the lessons were absorbed. 

Verdict

Bay Bridge can rebound from his Ascot setback and deny the likes of Alenquer and Native Trail.

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