Dazzling Royal Ascot winner The Fugue
is the favorite for the Coral-Eclipse Stakes, which attracted five othergroup I winners among a field of 11 for the July 5 race at Sandown Park.
The John Gosden trainee set an Ascot course record for 1 1/4 miles in the Prince of Wales's, with her 1 3/4-length triumph over 2013 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner Magician
and Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) victress and odds-on favorite Treve
Bookmaker Coral pegged Andrew Lloyd-Webber's The Fugue, a 5-year-old Dansili mare, as the 9-4 favorite. She was last of seven runners in the 2013 edition of the Eclipse, also run at the Prince of Wales's distance, in her only previous appearance at Sandown. With a win this year, she would become only the third female to capture the race, first run in 1886, joining Pebbles (1985) and Kooyonga (1992).
QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) winner Night of Thunder
, the 4-1 second choice, will face older runners for the first time following his runner-up finish in the St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I) June 17 at Royal Ascot. Both races were run at a mile, but trainer Richard Hannon believes the son of Dubawi
can handle the stretch out.
"I think he will because he relaxes very well and settles and he's pretty uncomplicated," he told At The Races. "I just hope it's not too rough in the race; it can get tight around that turn at Sandown."
In the weight-for-age contest, 3-year-old Night of Thunder is in receipt of 11 pounds from the older males and eight pounds from The Fugue.
One other group I-winning 3-year-old is entered. Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-I) runner-up Kingston Hill
bypassed a rematch with Derby winner Australia
in the June 29 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) due to fast ground, and trainer Roger Varian is hoping for the rain that is forecast for July 4.
Kingston Hill, by Mastercraftsman
, won the 2013 Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I) and is tabbed the 6-1 fourth choice. The Sandown course was labeled as good July 3.
Aidan O'Brien, who is bidding for a sixth win in the race, has two for the Eclipse in Verrazano
, the 11-2 third choice, and War Command
, fifth choice at 15-2.
Two-time U.S. grade I winner Verrazano, a son of More Than Ready
, will be making his third European start and third overall at the distance after a seventh in last year's Travers Stakes (gr. I) and 14th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). He has run twice at one mile this year, with only Toronado
defeating him in the June 17 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. He was third behind Olympic Glory
and Eclipse entrant Tullius
in the JLT Lockinge (Eng-I) May 17 at Newbury.
War Command, a War Front
colt who won the 2013 Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Eng-I), starts for the first time beyond a mile and comes in off a fourth in the St. James's Palace Stakes.
, 20-1, rounds out the quintet of group I winners for Godolphin and trainer Jim Bolger. The son of Teofilo
bids for a first win since capturing last year's Irish Derby, but subsequently posted two seconds and a third in group I races to cap 2013. He comes in off a third in the Qatar Bloodstock Jockey Club Stakes (Eng-II) May 3 at Newmarket.
Godolphin also is represented by True Story
(14-1), a 3-year-old son of Manduro
who won the Fielden Stakes at Newmarket in April and finished unplaced in the Epsom Derby in his most recent start for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
The field includes Mukhadram
(14-1), runner-up in the Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 29. The son of Shamardal
finished fourth in the Prince of Wales's for trainer William Haggas.
Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I, approximate post time 10:50 a.m. EDT), 3YO & Up, 1 1/4 miles, turf
No. PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. 10. Mukhadram, P. Hanagan, 133, W. Haggas
2. 5. Trading Leather, K. Manning, 133, J. Bolger
3. 9. Tullius, J. Fortune, 133, A. Balding
4. 6. Verrazano, R. Moore, 133, A. O'Brien
5. 2. Zambucca, D. Probert, 133, G. Kelleway
6. 1. The Fugue, W. Buick, 130, J. Gosden
7. 8. Kingston Hill, F. Dettori, 122, R. Varian
8. 3. Night of Thunder, R. Hughes, 122, R. Hannon
9. 11. Somewhat, F. Norton, 122, M. Johnston
10. 4. True Story, K. Fallon, 122, S. bin Suroor
11. 7. War Command, S. Heffernan, 122, A. O'Brien