Godolphin's Refuse To Bend continued his return to prominence with an exciting victory in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) at Sandown Park Saturday.
Ridden by Frankie Dettori, the Irish-bred 4-year-old son of Sadler's Wells, sent off at odds of 15-2, outlasted 12-1 Warrsan and Darryll Holland by a head after an all-out duel in the final furlong of the 1 1/4-mile event. The final time was 2:08.31 on good to soft going.
Kalaman came on for third, four lengths behind. Rakti, the 13-8 favorite in the field of 12, faded to eighth after missing the break and pulling hard to eventually take the lead more than a quarter-mile out.
Refuse to Bend, disputing fifth in the straight toward the inside, pushed along three furlongs from home to press the leaders for Dettori, took the lead with a furlong left and gamely held off the challenge of Warrsan.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor has found the secret to Refuse to Bend, who went into a long slump after winning the English Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) last year. He started his comeback by winning the one-mile Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) to open the Royal Ascot meeting last month.
"He was bought as a stallion prospect and he will retire at the end of the year," Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford told Racing Post
. Now he has won group ones at 2, 3 and 4. I would think he would be a very desirable stallion. He's in all the good mile and mile-and-a-quarter races."
Warrsan, the heavily campaigned 6-year-old trained by Clive Brittain, was always in touch with the leaders on the outside and finished well but could not get past the winner in spite of every chance to do so.
"He's such a tough customer and you have got to be proud of a performance like that," Brittain said. "He'll now go for the King George and the Juddmonte International. It's taken me six years to know how to train him."
Norse Dancer finished fourth, followed by Powerscourt (5th), Ikthyar (6th), Imperial Dancer (7th), Rakti (8th), Salford City (9th), African Dream (10th), Maktub (11th) and Chancellor.