Stellar Six Lined Up For Eclipse Clash

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Vadeni | Scoop Dyga

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In what is shaping up as if it could be a vintage 2022 season, Saturday's G1 Coral-Eclipse S. has let nobody down with a high-class turn-out of six in what has historically been termed as the first “Clash of the Generations”. The Aga Khan's supplemented Prix du Jockey Club hero Vadeni (Fr) (Churchill {Ire}) was drawn in stall four on Thursday, next to Godolphin's more decorated fellow 3-year-old Native Trail (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) in five, with the race's possible pace angle Alenquer (Fr) (Adlerflug {Ger}) widest in six. Following the expected withdrawal of Ballydoyle's trio which included two who had produced career-bests under aggressive front-running rides in Galileo (Ire)'s High Definition (Ire) and Stone Age (Ire), the question of who will take up the mantle in the lead is open to question.

 

Bridging the Gap

Caught out in a tactically-run affair 17 days ago in the G1 Prince of Wales's S., James Wigan and Ballylinch Stud's Bay Bridge (GB) (New Bay {GB}) could be ridden closer to the pace this time with Ryan Moore sure to be keen to address the defeat at the hands of the expertly-ridden State of Rest (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) at Royal Ascot. While there is no guarantee that the Sir Michael Stoute-trained 4-year-old would have won had he pressed Joseph O'Brien's colt further out, there are significant grounds to suggest he would have been closer at the death. Provided the 10-pound weight-for-age gift he presents to the year-younger duo is not insurmountable, he appeals as the ideal type for this race especially given how demonstrative he was in the G3 Brigadier Gerard S. over this course and distance May 26.

 

Faith Justified

James Wigan turned down overseas offers prior to selling a share in Bay Bridge to Ballylinch and believes his homebred has a strong chance of giving Stoute that seventh win in the race and hand him the overall record over Aidan O'Brien and Alec Taylor.

“Bay Bridge came back from Ascot bouncing and seems to be in rude health. I think the winner there was very cleverly ridden and stole a march on the others,” the owner-breeder told QIPCO British Champions Series. “I'm not saying we would have won if the race had been run differently, but he was beaten only a length and was still inching closer at the finish. If the race was run again I think we could have been closer still. It's probably the best Eclipse we've seen for a while, but he seemed to enjoy Sandown when he won the Brigadier Gerard.”

 

Egan Ready

Only third in this 12 months ago, Prince A A Faisal's Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) is back with a similar profile coming into it on his European bow and jockey David Egan is keen to resume his partnership with the 5-year-old. Whereas last term he was re-entering the fray after wins in the G1 Saudi Cup and G1 Dubai Sheema Classic, this time he cuts a more enigmatic figure having last been seen finishing a distant last of the 14 runners who took part in the Riyadh bonanza Feb. 26.

“I felt the dirt maybe wasn't riding with the same consistency as it did the previous year. It was a lot warmer, which will affect the dirt surface, and maybe it was a negative for him on the day,” Egan suggests. “He didn't jump as well, we asked him to get a prominent position and the pace was fierce–the winner came from a long way back. Mr. Gosden said he also got a bit of kickback, which might have affected him.”

 

Clean Slate

Ignoring that Saudi Cup effort, Mishriff remains the foremost older horse in this line-up on achievement and Egan is happy that the homebred is back in a good place ahead of Saturday.

“I've sat on him a number of times over the last couple of weeks and he feels in good form and tuned up and ready to go,” he added. “People have possibly written him off before and he's bounced back better than ever on a number of occasions. He's an exciting horse in that sense, knowing he can do that. He's the highest-rated horse in the race on paper and on figures he's the one to beat. It's a small field, but it's a boutique field and you could build a case for any horse in the race. Mishriff has been in a lot of tactical battles and I wouldn't be worried about the tactical aspect. He's pretty straightforward and he's an older, more mature horse now and easier to ride in some respects. He'll be a lot more mature than the 3-year-olds, which will only be an asset to him.”

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