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Will the Coral-Eclipse throw up the season’s best middle distance performance so far?

6 Jul 2012

Can the likes of Nathaniel, Monterosso or Cityscape better the 124-rated performances of the three QIPCO British Champions Series Middle Distance winners so far this season?

Nathaniel won last year’s Betfair King George in great style – can he open his account for 2012 with victory in the Coral-Eclipse? Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

Aidan O’Brien has dominated the top Middle Distance races in this country to date, winning all three Group 1 contests – the Investec Derby with Camelot, the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup (sponsored by Investec ) with St Nicholas Abbey and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes with So You Think.

All three performances were awarded an identical rating of 124 by the official BHA handicapper, but with the Coral-Eclipse ante-post favourite, So You Think, forced to miss the race through lameness, can another horse emerge on the scene to eclipse the O’Brien trio in the QIPCO British Champions Series Middle Distance category?

Nathaniel (international rating 126, achieved in last year’s King George), Monterosso (international rating 126, achieved with his Dubai World Cup victory in March), and Cityscape (international rating 125, achieved in the Dubai Duty Free in March) all have the clear ability to produce the middle distance performance of the year so far.

The lightly raced Farrh (rated 118), who had no luck in running in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, may well be capable of significant improvement, a comment that could also apply to the ex-Italian Crackerjack King (also 118) and potentially to the two three-year-olds in the race, Bonfire (115) and Cogito (105), though they will have to take a huge step forward to be involved at the finish.

Though they may not now be represented in the race, Aidan and Joseph O’Brien’s leads in the Trainer and Jockey of the Series tables are under no immediate threat, with Aidan 95 points clear of John Gosden, trainer of Nathaniel, and Joseph 55 clear of Ryan Moore, who rides Crackerjack King.

Make sure you catch the race live on Channel 4 and Racing UK at 3.45pm – or better still get along to Sandown Park if you can!

For the full race details and line-up, CLICK HERE.