Royal Ascot winner The Fugue is out to 9/4 at BetVictor for Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse after eleven were declared on Thursday for Saturday’s Group One feature at Sandown. There is also an excellent card at the beautiful Esher track today with two Listed contests and a couple of cracking handicaps.
In the opener Tagula Night (2.00) has won three times over C&D from five career outings at the track including from a 6lb lower mark last time out. Ryan Moore keeps the ride on the 8-y-o who has a good draw in stall three and must go close from a mark he has previously been successful from. His best form is on good ground so he will be pleased to hear that Clerk Of The Course Andrew Cooper was considering watering in the build up to the meeting.
There is plenty of pace in the Listed Dragon Stakes and the hope is that Richard Hughes can sit on the rail from his plum draw in stall one aboard Beacon (2.30) before pouncing inside the final furlong. Union Rose finished second in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and is sure to have his supporters as will Mukhmal who disappointed behind the progressive Baitha Alga last time having overcome a poor draw to score cosily at Chester previously.
The newcomers in the 7f maiden will have to be well above average to beat Mustadeem (3.00) first time out although confidence in the Brian Meehan-trained runner is tempered because of his modest draw in stall ten. Jockey Paul Hanagan should be able to get into a decent early position, however, given half the field are making their racecourse debuts and he had the third six lengths back when runner up at Newbury last time.
Windhoek often made the running when trained by Mark Johnston but has been held up in recent starts for Godolphin and was caught out of his ground when given a poor ride by Kieren Fallon last time. This stiff 10f might just test his stamina and last year’s Cambridgeshire winner Educate (3.35) can teach his rivals a lesson coming back from a three-month break. He didn’t set the world alight in Meydan earlier in the year but this is more his grade and the stable had a welcome winner earlier in the week.
The lightly-raced Air Pilot (4.10) ran a cracker at Epsom when runner up in a competitive handicap from a 4lb lower mark last month and Richard Hughes takes the mount this afternoon. There should be plenty of pace in the race which should suit and he must go close although this will be the fastest ground he has encountered to date.
Three of Michael Bell’s last five runners have finished runner up and Fiery Sunset (4.35) is taken to go one better for Her Majesty the Queen at Doncaster in a fascinating mile-and-a-half fillies’ handicap. Three year-olds receive 12lbs weight for age and the dangers might be the other pair representing the classic generation Reesha and Hidden Gold both similarly unexposed.
Mustadam is likely to be all the rage for the 10f maiden ay Haydock this evening but preference is for Solidarity (7.45) back on a decent surface having disappointed at Leicester last time. As a son of Dubawi he should not have been inconvenienced by the terrain last time but he is out of a Cape Cross mare and it looks as if a sound surface will suit. Silvestre De Souza hasn’t ridden the gelding since finishing down the field on debut but is back in the plate tonight.