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Golden Horn Eclipses rivals at Sandown

4 Jul 2015

The exciting Golden Horn got the better of The Grey Gatsby to win the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park.

Golden Horn wins the Coral Eclipse

Golden Horn (left) won an enthralling renewal of the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown. Image courtesy of RacingFotos.

Derby winner Golden Horn extended his unbeaten record by winning the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown by three and a half lengths under Frankie Dettori.

In his first assignment against older horses, Golden Horn was made to dig deep by dual Group 1 winner The Grey Gatsby, but he found plenty for pressure and was ultimately well on top at the line. The Grey Gatsby ran a stormer to finish runner-up, looking a big danger inside the final couple of furlongs, while the winner’s stable companion, Western Hymn, finished a never-threatening third, four and a half lengths behind The Grey Gatsby.

Having been held up on all four of his previous outings, different tactics were employed on Golden Horn as he was sent straight into the lead. The Grey Gatsby’s rider, Jamie Spencer, was keen not to give the red-hot 4/9 favourite too much of an easy time of things, however, and was always close up, ready to unleash his challenge on the long climb for home.

Golden Horn was initially unable to shake off The Grey Gatsby as Kevin Ryan’s stable star matched the favourite’s every move. However, it became apparent upon entering the final furlong that Dettori had saved a bit on Golden Horn, and his mount kept on much the stronger up the punishing hill, drawing right away to register an ultimately-impressive three-and-a-half length success.

In beating The Grey Gatsby – one of the leading older horses in training – by such a wide margin, Golden Horn underlined the view that he really is a top-class colt, one who will continue to take the beating in the top middle-distance races. Golden Horn’s Eclipse performance rating is likely to be in the region of 130, a figure which represents a similar performance to his Derby success. For context, John Gosden’s most recent Eclipse winner Nathaniel ran to 129 in beating Farhh in 2012.

Golden Horn’s connections were understandably delighted in the aftermath of his win, with rider Frankie Dettori proclaiming “he’s up there with the very best I’ve ridden. I’ve yet to get to the bottom of him”. Trainer John Gosden suggested that the QIPCO King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Stakes – set to be run at Ascot in three weeks’ time – was a potential target for Golden Horn, whilst the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe could also be on the radar later in the season.