Coral-Eclipse: Saxon Warrior remains possible among Aidan O'Brien team

Wed 4 Jul 2018

By Racinguk.com staff

Aidan O'Brien could field three runners in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday in his quest to win the Group One feature for a record-equalling sixth time.

He has five entries and told the Racing Post on Wednesday that Happily and Cliffs Of Moher were likely runners.

In addition, Saxon Warrior, the 2,000 Guineas winner who has since finished fourth in the Derby and third in the Irish equivalent, may also run provided he comes through his exercise on Thursday morning with flying colours.

The trainer said: "It's possible that Saxon Warrior will run in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday.

"He ran a very big race in the Irish Derby less than a week ago, and while he's come out of that very well we're going to leave it until the last minute before making up our minds about whether he'll run. He'll be ridden out tomorrow morning and he'll tell us if he's ready or not."

Most firms cut Saxon Warrior to 4-1, while Forest Ranger has been in demand and is into 10-1. Betfair and Paddy Power have pushed Masar out to 13-8, with Roaring Lion eased to 5-2.

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Richard Hannon’s charge made a big impression on his racecourse debut at Newbury in April, before finding the Charlie Appleby-trained Loxley too strong in a novice event at Newmarket last month.

Connections acknowledge the size of three-year-old’s task as he prepares to take on Appleby’s Investec Derby hero Masar at Group One level this weekend, but with a small field anticipated they are happy to roll the dice.

Tim Palin, racing manager for the owners Middleham Park Racing, said: “We’re going to go to Sandown and the reasoning is dead simple. It looked like being a small field on Monday morning. I think we were the fifth horse entered at 11.24am and then Aidan O’Brien entered his five before the 12pm deadline.

“It looks like there might be five or six runners, we’ve paid about £5,000 to get this far and we felt we might as well let him take his chance and all the owners will have a good day out.

“You get over £10,000 if your’re sixth and if he over-achieves and picks up £85,000 for finishing third or something then fantastic.

“Richard is adamant he’s a Group horse. Whether that’s Group Three, Group Two or Group One, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Aidan O'Brien has five entries and told the Racing Post on Wednesday that Happily and Cliffs Of Moher were likely runners.

In addition, Saxon Warrior, the 2,000 Guineas winner who has since finished fourth in the Derby and third in the Irish equivalent, may also run provided he comes through his exercise on Thursday morning with flying colours.

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