The Group 1 Eclipse Stakes is the big race at Sandown on Saturday and Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore has a big chance of winning it among his six booked rides...
"Hopefully, getting 10lb from the older horses can swing it his way but it is clearly his toughest assignment yet. And, of course with just four runners, this promises to be very tactical, too."
- Ryan Moore on St Mark's Basilica
Talented filly can hopefully go well from inside draw
She is a tough and talented filly who takes her racing well, and she has stronger claims than most in here. She returned to near her best when fifth in the King's Stand for me, and followed that up with a fairly decisive win in Listed company at Ayr last time. She finished a good second in the Scurry here last season and a bit of ease in the ground is fine too. Hopefully, her draw on the rail in one proves a positive.
Drop in grade could do the trick
I think it is probably fair to say she has not progressed from her reappearance second to Alcohol Free in a Fred Darling that has worked out well, but she has run solid races in the 1000 Guineas and at Epsom last time. A reproduction of the Newbury run could make her the one to beat in a competitive Listed race, though one that arguably lacks a clear form stand-out. If there is one it is probably my filly, down in grade.
Case for making Mark favourite to win Eclipse
A good renewal in terms of quality with Addeybb and Mishriff setting the form standard, but you can certainly make a case for St Mark's Basilica coming in here as the favourite, getting the weight as an improving, dual Classic-winning, 3yo. Though not by much admittedly. There are not many horses who win three Group 1s in a row, but that is what my colt has done in winning the Dewhurst and the two French Classics.
I wasn't on board for any of those successes but he looked very impressive in beating last year's Lagardere winner in the Prix du Jockey Club last time, and the rain at the start of the week was good news for him too, as would any more on Saturday. Hopefully, getting 10lb from the older horses can swing it his way but it is clearly his toughest assignment yet. And, of course with just four runners, this promises to be very tactical, too. But it is the same for us all on the latter front.
Still competitive off this mark
He was on a long losing run, with a lot of good efforts in between admittedly, before finally getting his head in front at Doncaster last time, albeit courtesy of the stewards. A 2lb rise stills makes him competitive in here - he has gone close off higher marks in the past - and hopefully the blinkers he wore for the first time at Doncaster have a similar effect here.
Should go well again after latest effort
He was pretty impressive at Haydock but then found one too good off a 4lb higher mark last time. He has been inched up another 1lb but that second last time could have come in a strong race - the first and third were improvers - and I can see him going well again.
Needs to improve but potential is there
He ran pretty well on his handicap debut when fourth at Newmarket last month. Racing off the same mark here, he will need to improve but, after just five starts, the potential is there.
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