Coral-Eclipse (British Champions Series) (Group 1) (CLASS 1) (3yo+)
Winner: £255,195 Runners: 11 Distance: 1m2f
Advice: 2 pts win The Fugue (11/4 general), 1 pt each/way Mukhadram (16/1 general)
Mukhadram: Announced himself at the top level when catching out all but Al Kazeem in last year’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes and was then third here when possibly going too hard from the front, although he was snatched up late and may have been second otherwise; Since landed Group 2, finished second in Dubai World Cup, but below best when connections tried restraining him and having pacemaker at Royal Ascot (pacemaker ignored, never quite happy); Returning to more prominent tactics, looks sure to run better and can play a part.
Trading Leather: Won 2013 Irish Derby when quite a few failed to show their best form but proved that no fluke with second in King George and International Stakes; Third in Irish Champion Stakes, well behind The Fugue, and far too free on return; Strongly run 10f here may suit better an possibly improved physically, but love of improvement needed.
Verrazano: US import who was amongst the best of his age group last year and looked very promising in 2 runs for Ballydoyle so far, a good second in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot after a promising UK/Turf debut in the Lockinge; Today’s test a much tougher affair however and 1m2f wasn’t his bag in America, although he shaped as if that would be ideal for him; Player.
The Fugue: Often had heartbreak in major races, not least when collared at the line for the Breeders’ Cup in heart breaking style and then not getting best of runs in Hong Kong afterwards; However, when things fall correctly for her she’s as good a mare as any on the planet and proved it when much the best in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, beating Magican and Treve in style (Mukhadram third); Rain wouldn’t help but going to take all the beating.
Kingston Hill: Prime Derby contender from beginning of last season, landing Autumn Stakes in style before trashing opposition in fine style for Racing Post trophy; Only eighth in 2000 Guineas but needed middle distances on ground that quick and second to Australia, when well clear of rest of the field, was a fine effort; Taken out of Irish Derby but ground less zippy here and can go close.
Night of Thunder: Looked a fine prospect as a 2 year old but then put in his place by Kingman in Greenham, although he reversed that form in comprehensive style at Newmarket in main event; Rematch in St James’s Palace proved that no fluke despite him being comprehensively beaten and he should be well involved at the finish today.
Somewhat: Not matched his 2yo form at the beginning of this season and here as a pacemaker.
True Story: Looked to have fine future in middle distance races when landing the Fielden Stakes in style, but below best in Dante; Seemed beaten fair and square in the Derby when seventh however; Maybe 10 furlongs his right trip but others make more appeal.
War Command: Ran as if 10 furlongs would be a fine step for him when closing at the end of St James’s Palace and that bare form reads well but had been outpaced beforehand and needs to find a step up.
VERDICT: A cracking renewal with the top 3yo form with the Derby (thanks to Kingston Hill), and The Guineas (Night of Thunder) represented against crack older opposition. THE FUGUE, a class apart in the Prince of Wales’s, is the one to beat, but MUKHADRAM, fourth that day, will be suited by a return to more prominent front running tactics and must be backed to make