Mount Nelson Scales Eclipse Heights
The Ballydoyle juggernaut, which has been unstoppable of late, scored its 12th group I victory of the year, and its fourth Coral-Eclipse win overall.
Mount Nelson, a 4-year-old son of Rock of Gibraltar, was the only group I winner in the field of eight, having captured the Criterium International (Fr-I) as a 2-year-old. Due to a serious foot problem, the colt made only one start in 2007. Mount Nelson had made three starts this year prior to the Coral-Eclipse, his best finish being a third in the Prix Equidia (Fr-III) at Chantilly in June.
Multidimensional went straight to the front in the coral-Eclipse and set a strong pace under jockey Tom Queally. They were followed closely by Maraahel and Campanologist, as both Phoenix Tower and Mount Nelson were content to track the leaders from mid-pack.
The order remained unchanged as the field turned into the straight and headed for home. With two furlongs remaining, Campanologist took over the lead as Multidimensional began to weaken. He was soon joined by Phoenix Tower and Mount Nelson, and the colts raced three abreast as they battled to the wire.
Phoenix Tower, a 4-year-old son of Chester House, took command with about 150 yards left and appeared headed for his first group I win. Johnny Murtagh, aboard Mount Nelson, had other ideas though, and kept his charge under a strong drive to the finish. The result came down to a head bob, with Mount Nelson coming out on top.
Phoenix Tower, who was trying to give Henry Cecil his first winner in the Coral-Eclipse since Gunner B 30 years ago, finished second, one length in front of the late-charging Pipedreamer.
Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:05.56 over a good to firm turf course.
O’Brien was quick to credit his team for Mount Nelson’s victory. “He is a very good horse, this fellow. He had a few little problems at three and tore off a shoe at the start of the spring last year, and took half of his foot off with it,” O’Brien told reporters.
He continued, “The whole team did a great job to get him back, and they need to take all the credit. He is an amazing horse to come back, and we didn’t think he would make it.”
Mount Nelson was bred in England by Cliveden Stud. He is out of the Selkirk mare Independence, and hails from the same female family as multiple champion Reference Point, winner of the 1987 Ever Ready Epsom Derby (Eng-I).
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