Mishriff primed for Eclipse bid at Sandown

Mishriff is reported to be in tip-top form as he bids to win at the highest level on home soil for the first time in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.

Trained by John and Thady Gosden, the four-year-old was one of a small but select list of seven horses left in Saturday’s 10-furlong Group One at the confirmation stage

Mishriff is already a Group One winner in France and Dubai and has also won the Saudi Cup on dirt, beating some specialist American challengers to prove his versatility.

His form received a timely boost when Chrono Genesis, runner-up to the Make Believe colt in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March, won in Japan on Sunday.

“Everything seems fine. We’re one of seven left in, let’s see what the weather brings and see what happens,” said Ted Voute, racing manager to owner Prince Faisal.

“The Japanese horse he beat (Chrono Genesis) in the Middle East won a Group One in Japan on Sunday. That fills us up with some optimism.

“The Prince talked to John (Gosden) after the horse worked on Saturday and they were all positive. I haven’t talked to John but the Prince is over and got over in time so can get out of quarantine and be available for race day, so fingers crossed.”

St Mark’s Basilica is dual Classic winner in France this term
St Mark’s Basilica is dual Classic winner in France this term (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Aidan O’Brien is likely to field the main opposition with three of the seven hailing from Ballydoyle.

He can choose from French 2000 Guineas and Derby winner St Mark’s Basilica, who will be tackling older horses for the first time, Armory, who was third to stablemate Love at Royal Ascot and Japan, who took third behind Ghaiyyath in this race last year.

Voute is looking forward to a potential showdown with St Mark’s Basilica and others.

“The clash with St Mark’s Basilica is great. It’s a big weight difference but it always is and there’s the lovely filly of Chris Wright’s from Ascot (Wonderful Tonight). It should be a good race with any luck,” he added.

“If we’re going to be the best, we’ve got to beat the best out there. This is a step in the right direction.”

William Haggas will be hoping it rains during the week to enable him to run the soft-ground lover Addeybb.

Addeybb could go for gold at Sandown
Addeybb could go for gold at Sandown (Mike Egerton/PA)

While the gelding may be seven years old now, he showed he is as good as ever when once again winning a Group One in Australia in April.

David Menuisier enjoyed one of the finest days of his career when Wonderful Tonight won the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. She remains in the mix but would be dropping in trip and requires ease in the ground.

Roger Varian’s El Drama completes the possibles. The Dee Stakes winner finished only 15th behind St Mark’s Basilica in the Prix du Jockey Club.

Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper reported conditions on the round track to be a mixture of good to soft and soft following rain on Sunday.

“We had about 18 millimetres of rain on Sunday evening and we’ve had a murky, drizzly morning. We’d been dry for best part of a week,” he said.

Sandown clerk of the course Andrew Cooper
Sandown clerk of the course Andrew Cooper (Steve Parsons/PA)

“I walked the course this morning and the round course was a mixture of soft and good to soft. Overall, you could call it good to soft, soft in places. The five-furlong course was soft.

“There are showers forecast today and Tuesday. We are under a low pressure system so what happens over the next 48 hours will be key to where we are at the end of the week. We are not clear of that until Wednesday morning.

“Wednesday to Friday looks drier, but no great rise in temperatures all week and for the weekend there is suggestion of some showery activity coming from the Atlantic that might influence things, but that is some way off.

“Last night’s rain has left us on the easy side. We’re just going to monitor daily and see where we go.

“It’s unlikely to be quickish ground but, depending what happens in the next 48 hours, somewhere near good is possible.”

Cooper was happy with the shape of the field for the Eclipse.

“I am not surprised it is a comparatively smallish number. Of the 31 left in prior to today, a lot had run recently. Aidan (O’Brien) had 13 of them and he was not going to confirm everything,” he added.

“What it delivers is a clash of the generations – the French Derby winner (St Mark’s Basilica) going up against the calibre of Mishriff. That is what the Eclipse is all about.”

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