Dual Arc winner ENABLE returns to action in the Coral Eclipse but amid doubts about the trip and her fitness.
The Eclipse is the mid-summer, middle-distance highlight of the flat calendar in Britain and the showpiece fixture at Sandown tomorrow (Saturday).
The five-year-old daughter of Nathaniel is the most famous mare in Europe and has been off the track for 245 days after just holding off Sea of Class at Longchamp to collect her second Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe.
Since winning the 2017 Oaks by five lengths in a spectacular Epsom downpour, she has won six further Group Ones without tasting defeat.
Given that she is a notoriously unshowy workhorse, it will probably be difficult for Frankie Dettori and the rest of the John Gosden team to assess just where she is in terms of fitness.
Considering the Arc remains ENABLE’S main target, and that she looked vulnerable in her last two wins last season, it would probably not be a disaster if she did not win this race which comes over a shorter than ideal trip.
This may not be the time to take Carrigill’s 5/6 about Enable given the concerns but it would clearly be exciting for the sport to see her pass this test and rack up an eighth success at the highest level.
REGAL REALITY is the one who appeals from a betting point of view and the son of Intello can extend his trainer’s terrific record in this race, even if he has a bit to find on ratings with one or two of these.
In 1923, Alec Taylor won the last of his six Eclipses as a trainer and this weekend Sir Michael Stoute can break that record having sent out his sixth winner, Ulysses, in 2017.
REGAL REALITY was an impressive course and course-and-distance winner in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes in May and is a four-year-old – the age at which Stoute horses tend to be at their most potent.
Three-time Melbourne Cup winner Kerrin McEvoy has delayed his return home to Australia to take the ride after partnering Houtzen in the King’s Stand Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting.
The Queensland mare slipped at the start of the race and finished out of the placings, but its hard to believe Stoute’s 7/1 shot with Carrigill’s won’t be involved in the finish.
The rest of the Sandown card tomorrow (Saturday) holds some appeal especially in the preceding Distaff.
Charlie Appleby is fast becoming one of the best trainers of young horses transitioning from 2 to 3 and sends out BEYOND REASON.
This daughter of Australia won three times last year at Group 2 and 3 level and was not disgraced in the Moyglare and Fillies’ Mile and drops back to Listed company here.
In the closing handicap over 1m2f Ed Walker’s well handicapped DREAMWALKER can live up to his name and defy a 4lb rise to stroll home again as he did at Goodwood last time out.
FIRST ELEVEN produced a career-best performance at York last time out and his name should be on your team sheet this weekend.
The half-brother to Kingman out of Frankel likes a bit of time between races and the 52 days between the Knavesmire and tomorrow’s (Saturday) Old Newton cup at Haydock (3.15) could be ideal. The boys at Carrigill’s hold a different view and have napped ALMUFFRIAH.
Also on show at York last time out was ENBIHAAR who just got collared in a 1m6f group. She’s back to a more suitable trip in the Lancashire Oaks and should go close.
The final race on Haydock’s card is a competitive 7f handicap and BEAT LE BON is worth a look.
Trainer Richard Hannon believes there’s a big race in him and he also holds an entry for next month’s Golden Mile.