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History against Golden Horn in bid for Derby/ Coral-Eclipse double

1 Jul 2015

We take a look back at the record of Derby winners in the Coral-Eclipse bidding for victory in the famous double.

Sea The Stars is the only horse to win the Investec Derby and Coral-Eclipse in the same season in the last 20 years. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

The Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park is one of the first occasions that the Classic generation can test their talent against the established stars of the Flat racing fraternity.

However, the moment is rarely taken by connections unless they are truly of the belief that they have a serious racing champion on their hands.

In Investec Derby winner Golden Horn, a worthy challenger will step forward this Saturday in a bid to be crowned only the second three-year-old to win the Epsom Derby and the Coral-Eclipse in the last 20 years.

History is against the John Gosden-trained star for glory at the Surrey-based track.

Since 1995, only one Derby winner has gone on to win the Coral-Eclipse in the same campaign, despite the eleven-pound weight advantage.

Sea The Stars’ narrow victory over Rip Van Winkle in 2009 was probably not as comfortable as many would have liked, but it demonstrated a courageous attitude to fight to the line that epitomised his outstanding racing career.

He was an exception, though. Derby winners do not always come as hugely talented as John Oxx’s superstar.

Of the others to attempt the double in the same period, none have been successful.

Authorized, the odds-on favourite under the ride of Frankie Dettori, bumped into the doggedly determined and unorthodox Notnowcato, who rode on the opposite side of the track to his rivals, when finishing second in 2007.

Two years earlier, the unbeaten record of Motivator was lost in an assault to claim the Coral-Eclipse title when taking the runner-up spot from another three-year-old in Oratorio, even though previously beating him at Epsom.

The only other contender to make the bold bid for glory was Benny The Dip in 1997.

Similarly to Golden Horn, the Derby winner was also trained under the attentive eye of Gosden.

Although deemed an outsider by racing aficionados, Benny The Dip was an impressive performer in a daring attempt to win from the front. However, Pilsudski’s strong rally was too much for the Epsom champion, despite staying on tenaciously to defeat the late, great Sir Henry Cecil’s star Bosra Sham.

Attention now turns to this weekend.

Despite only one Derby winner going on to Sandown Park glory in the last 20 years, the exciting Golden Horn could well follow in the hoof prints of Sea The Stars to win the double.

After attempting and failing the challenge, if anyone knows how difficult the 2015 Derby hero’s task is, it’s his trainer.

Golden Horn could be a serious racing champion.