Twice Over went straight to the front and never looked back, cruising to a half-length victory in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) at Sandown Park July 3.
The victory gave legendary trainer Henry Cecil his fourth win in the Coral-Eclipse and his first win since he captured the race with Gunner B in 1978.
The small field of six was reduced to five before the start when Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum’s Mawatheeq refused to load into the gate. After a delay of several minutes, officials decided to withdraw the 5-year-old son of Danzig from the race.
Twice Over broke alertly and was sent immediately to the front by jockey Tom Queally. They were quickly joined by the top mare Dar Re Mi while Viscount Nelson and Zacinto tracked them in third and fourth, respectively.
Dar Re Mi continued to shadow Twice Over throughout the early stages of the 2,010-meter race, and it appeared that it would be decided between those two runners. As the field rounded the bend and entered the home straight, however, Twice Over hit another gear and opened up a three-length lead.
Making her first start since capturing the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-IT) in March, Dar Re Mi began to wilt from her earlier exertions and was unable to match the quick acceleration of Twice Over.
Twice Over began to idle after he opened up and longshot Sri Putra, who was dismissed at odds of 33-1, suddenly loomed as a threat in the center of course with less than a furlong to run. The challenger was never able to get to Twice Over though, and the winning son of Observatory crossed the line in front comfortably.
Viscount Nelson ran on at one pace to take third, a half-length behind Sri Putra. Dar Re Mi faded in the final furlong to finish fourth, with Zacinto rounding out the field.
The final time for the about 10 furlongs was 2:04.64 over a course labeled as good.
A pleased Henry Cecil said after the race, “Well done to all the staff at Warren Place and to Graham Purse who rides him every day. Without them I would not be standing here talking to you.
“I’m pleased for the Prince (owner Khalid Abdullah) and it’s a pleasure to train for him. He’s been a very good friend and I’m very lucky.”
When asked about future plans for Twice Over Cecil said, “We will look at the Juddmonte (International, Eng-I), the Champion Stakes (Eng-I), and also the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) next year.”
Regarding another run in the Breeders’ Cup later this year Cecil stated, “It’s possible, but at the end of the day, the Prince will decide.”
Twice Over, who was named champion older horse in England last year, improved his record to eight wins from 19 career starts. He has finished in the money 15 times. Twice Over collected his second group I, also having captured the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes (Eng-I) last October.
Twice Over was bred in England by his owner, Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farm. He is a 5-year-old horse out of Double Crossed, by Caerleon. Double Crossed is a stakes-winning half-sister to Clepsydra, the dam of stakes winners Passage Of Time, Father Time, and Timepiece.