Everything you need to know about the 2015 Coral-Eclipse

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THE CORAL Eclipse Stakes takes place at Sandown Park this Saturday (July). This famous is known as a Group 1 flat race for thoroughbreds of three years and older, run over a distance of 1 mile 2 furlongs.

It is known as the season race in which horses of four years and up first take on the three-year-olds – the newcomers who’ve made their names in the Classic races of the year.

In the Eclipse Stakes, three-year-olds receive a 10 pound weight-for-age allowance, and the age groups match up pretty evenly, making for exciting racing. Since 1990, there have been exactly six Coral Eclipse winners each from the three, four, and five-year-old age groups.

Coral Eclipse history dates all the way back to 1886, when the first race was won by Bendigo at Sandown Park. The race takes its name from the famous racehorse and stud, Eclipse – as do the prestigious Eclipse awards for thoroughbreds in the United States.

Here is the lowdown on the the big race…

When does it all begin?
The Coral-Eclipse is the biggest race of the weekend and is contested on Saturday at 3:45pm. However, Friday is the course’s annual Ladies Day with the first race starting at 1:25pm.

Can I still buy tickets?
Advance tickets for both days are limited, but are still available through Sandown’s website. Tickets start from £14.40 on Friday and £22.40 on Saturday and you won’t have to get up at an ungodly hour to queue for a spot on a hill, unlike the other sporting event this weekend.

How can I watch it on TV?
Subscription channel Racing UK will be showing all of Friday’s racing, but Channel 4 will be screening action of Saturday’s card, starting at 1:25pm and ending at 16:10, shortly after the big race of the day. The Morning Line will also focus on the Coral-Eclipse and will be broadcast live from Sandown at 8am on Saturday morning.

Who are the big names?
As well as jockey Ryan Moore, who broke a modern-era record at Royal Ascot when he chalked up nine winners across the week, ebullient Italian Frankie Dettori will be riding Golden Horn in the feature race. The horse remains unbeaten in his career and has already won the world’s most famous race, the Derby, at Epsom this season.

Oh, and Mark Wright from The Only Way Is Essex will be DJing at Saturday’s after party once racing has finished.

What are the odds?
The French Derby winner New Bay was intended to give Golden Horn a stiff test, but was withdrawn this week with the horse not being as fluent as trainer Andre Fabre would have liked. That leaves Golden Horn as the short-priced [4/7] favourite. His closest challengers will be last year’s French Derby winner The Grey Gatsby (7/2) and Aidan O’Brien’s Cougar Mountain (12/1).

How much prize money is on offer?
This used to be the richest race in Britain but the winner of Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse will still net themselves a cool £255,195 – with a total prize fund of £450,000 available for the race.

Will Golden Horn keep his unbeaten record intact?
This will be the first time that the horse, trained by John Gosden, has run on a right-handed track and owner Anthony Oppenheimer has said that they want to see how he handles it before deciding on future targets, which could include the Juddmonte International at York and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

New Bay’s withdrawal means that the task looks, on paper, easier than it did before, but it will be the first time that Golden Horn races against older horses and it would be foolish to rule out the chances of The Grey Gatsby, who beat last year’s Derby winner Australia as a three-year-old. He’s a year older now but a massive player.

The Coral-Eclipse at Sandown is a QIPCO British Champions Series race. For more information, visit www.BritishChampionsSeries.com

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