The top race in the British Isles this weekend is the Eclipse at Sandown, a 1m 2f Group 1 contest. This is the first time in the season that three-year-olds can take on their elders at the highest level over a middle-distance. In our detailed Eclipse preview, Horsebetting.com experts looks at the small but select field of four bidding for glory.
Eclipse preview – Ratings topper Addeybb needs rain
William Haggas saddles Addeybb seeking a second winner of the race. Now aged seven, the Pivotal gelding is ground dependent and needs rain. Some is forecast, but whether it is enough for this globetrotter remains to be seen.
Addeybb won the Champion Stakes on soft autumn ground, beating the re-opposing Mishriff comprehensively. The question is can that form be taken literally? Big wins for Addeybb out in Australia both this season and last are remarkable.
How that translates to the Eclipse is difficult. Every drop of rain that falls enhances his chances of victory, so you can’t rule him out. Addeybb is a top-price 7/2 with Bet365 for the spoils and that won’t last if the heavens open.
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Stable to follow – John Gosden
Now ably assisted by son Thady, John Gosden has saddled four of the last nine Eclipse winners. That makes yard representative MISHRIFF of obvious interest. Like Addeybb, this four-year-old colt by Make Believe has won big races abroad.
Mishriff has demonstrated his versatility in doing that too. After success in the 1m 1f Saudi Cup on dirt, he switched back to the turf and went up three furlongs in trip when landing the Sheema Classic at Meydan on Dubai World Cup Night. In both races, the way Mishriff stayed on and changed gear won the day.
This was seriously impressive. Gosden has since freshened him up with an eye on a European campaign which begins in the Eclipse. The only hole in Mishriff’s armour here is conceding weight for age to the three-year-olds. Nonetheless, several bookmakers including 888Sport have him as the 6/4 favourite here.
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Getting weight – St Mark’s Basilica
Aidan O’Brien has also won the Eclipse on multiple occasions but not since 2011. ST MARK’S BASILICA may put that right, however, after consecutive Classic wins in France. This three-year-old son of Siyouni seeks a Group 1 four-timer started off last autumn in the Dewhurst at Newmarket.
As St Mark’s Basilica has since won the French 2000 Guineas and French Derby, the Prix du Jockey Club, he may be the best three-year-old colt in Ireland. His Chantilly success over Jean-Luc Lagardere hero Sealiway has some substance to it.
Then there is the 10lb weight for age St Mark’s Basilica gets from Mishriff and Addeybb. Adjusting official ratings to reflect that, he comes out clear of them. Only six three-year-olds have won the Eclipse in the last 20 years, but bookies fear this one. St Mark’s Basilica is a standout 7/4 with Boylesports to sock it to his elders.
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Outsider – El Drama
These are deep waters for El Drama, but connections can pick up over £32,000 for coming fourth here. Trained by Roger Varian for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, this three-year-old colt by Lope De Vega won the Listed 1m 2f Dee Stakes at Chester by a length from Maximal on his penultimate start.
The runner-up had run well behind subsequent Irish Derby hero Hurricane Lane at Newbury coming into the race. Maximal was also fourth in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Earlswood, who was third, landed the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes next time out.
However, this form clearly isn’t as strong as that which the other three Eclipse runners bring to the table. El Drama ranges in price from 20/1 up to 33/1 for this, and it will take massive improvement to even get competitive here.
2021 Eclipse Stakes Shortlist
- ***** Mishriff
- **** St Mark’s Basilica
- **** – Addeybb