Golden Horn to test depth of this year's classic crop
WE have a small but select field for this year's Coral-Eclipse in which the three-year-old Derby winner Golden Horn will take on the four-year-old The Grey Gatsby who seemed to be back to his very best at Royal Ascot and it looks like being a real intriguing affair.
With only five runners it could well develop into a tactical affair which is always a fear around Sandown but Golden Horn looks to be a very high quality three-year-old with Jack Hobbs only cementing his form at the Curragh in the Irish Derby last weekend.
It will give us a real good idea where the three-year-olds stack up in comparison to last year's but I do think Golden Horn will shade it although having seen The Grey Gatsby at Royal Ascot there will be a lot of people who think the value is with him as it is a funny time of year for three-year-olds as they've been busy and trainers are keeping them going and stepping them up against the older horses and they can end up putting in and indifferent run around this time of year.
There has only been a handful of three-year-olds that have won this race since 1999 and since 2000 all four have been Irish-trained but in fairness to Golden Horn he looks to be a very uncomplicated type of horse and he doesn't seem to have had any hard races that would cause you worry going into the Eclipse.
It'll be interesting to see how Frankie Dettori rides him tomorrow. It's hard to know what will make the running and whether they'll use the stable companion Western Hymn to do that job or just maybe make the running with Golden Horn himself.
Sandown is a difficult track to make ground up as it is all downhill and they swing back up so it could be a tactical affair and we have seen it before in small fields that things can go wrong. The one thing that Frankie will have is that the other four jockeys will be trying to ride his horse as well because he's on the 4/11 shot and they want to get him beat and John Gosden hasn't had a lot of luck in that department recently as he did voice his disapproval at some tactics at Royal Ascot but I'm sure they'll have it well talked over and come up with a good plan.
John Gosden is a more than an accomplished trainer as we've seen this season and I'm sure he'll have Golden Horn spot on.
Speaking of accomplished trainers and two of our finest are heading to America this weekend with Postulation running in the Belmont Derby for Aidan O'Brien and Outstanding lining up in the Belmont Oaks.
Dermot Weld is no stranger to going over to America in search for opportunities and he'll have a fair idea what is required over there and that he's taking on the American three-year-olds at the right time of year so it'll be interesting to see how he fares out because it was a nice performance at the Curragh last time.
Aidan seems to have a vast amount of three-year-old fillies this season so Outstanding goes over there in search of a nice opportunity.
Finally, it was disappointing to hear the sad news of Kauto Star's death during the week. He certainly was a very top class racehorse who got the pulses racing when he was at his prime which was for quite a long time and the longevity of those top class jump horses is certainly something that flat racing can be somewhat jealous of as we never really have as long to enjoy flat horses. It was a real shame to see that everyone airing some sour grapes in his memory during the week however.