The Coral Eclipse is shaping up to be one of the races of the Flat season. The Group 1 contest at Sandown on Sunday (July 5th) over one mile and two furlongs brings together an established superstar and a potential new kid on the block. Enable is the -110 favourite with the sponsors but may have to produce a career best to beat Ghaiyyath and several other proven performers at the highest level. Magical is the horse for the ante post each way value at +1400 with BetOnline.
Enable is now aged six and is embarking on a fifth season in training. The sole objective is to become the first horse to win three Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe’s so all roads lead to Longchamp near Paris in October. The capital of France is opening up for tourists and given no travel restrictions in the autumn, thousands of UK race fans will be travelling to the track and hoping to see Enable make history. The Eclipse is a prep race for Enable and other runners could be better prepared.
The John Gosden trained mare is one of eight horses to win two Arcs but no horse has gone to the next level and achieved that elusive third win. Treve prevailed in 2013 and 2014 but came up short the following year. Enable won the Arc in 2017 and 2018 and looked all over the winner inside the final furlong last year. She was collared by Waldgeist near the finish and went down by one and three quarter lengths. The owners were quick to commit to a campaign to win another Arc.
Ante post betting is fraught with danger, especially when bookmakers do not offer non-runner/no bet. Enable can be backed at +600 with BetOnline to win Europe’s all-aged championship over one mile and four furlongs. Horses aged three and older are eligible which means the race often involves some of the best horses from the Classic generation and older horses who have not been retired to stud. Every winner since 1932 has been aged 3, 4 or 5 so Enable is not typical.
Some racing pundits believe the Arc should be a level weights contest. The race is designed to identify the best middle distance horse in Europe and often Japan. Age and sex allowances do muddy the waters and fillies aged three have both those advantages over older male horses. When Enable won the race in 2017 she carried 10 lbs less than some of her closest rivals. In finishing second to Waldgeist last October, Enable enjoyed an allowance of 3 lbs.
Fillies and mares are entitled to a 3 lb weight allowance in the Eclipse. Three-year-olds carry 8-11 and horses aged four and older run with 9-07 on their back. That means the weights range is 13 pounds at most which represents a huge advantage. A filly aged three has not emerged as a leading contender and the Oaks takes place the previous day. In a normal year the Oaks winner would be considered for the Eclipse as she carries up to almost one stone less than other runners.
Enable won the race last season en route to trying to win a third Arc. The opposition this time looks stronger, and Ghaiyyath is a horse with massive ability. He turned the Group 1 Coronation Cup into a procession and the win earned the horse a Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 125. The placed horses off level weights were the Derby winner, Anthony Van Dyck, and Stradivarius who went on to win a third Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Magical should also not be dismissed at the latest odds.
Magical’s best RPR is 123 which puts the Aidan O’Brien horse just a few pounds behind Ghaiyyath on best form. He finished 23 lengths ahead of Ghaiyyath in the 2019 Arc carrying just three pounds less. Granted that horse has shown huge improvement since the race but reversing the form with Magical looks a huge ask. Magical finished less than one length behind Enable in the Eclipse last July. Assuming the race is a means to an end for Enable, the horse to have on your side based on form and the betting for the Eclipse is called Magical.