Only four go to post for one of the mid-season highlights of the flat season the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown this afternoon. Conditions were described as good to soft on Friday morning with the prospect of further showers although yesterdays times suggested the ground was good.

The more rain the better for Addeybb although the ground is unlikely to be deep enough for William Haggas’s globetrotting seven-year-old and this looks a match between the last couple of French Derby winners Mishriff (3.35) and St Mark’s Basilica with marginal preference for the John Gosden-trained four-year-old.

The selection – 7/4 with MansionBet – has a bit to find with Addeybb on Champions Stakes form back in October, but I am convinced that was not his true running and his recent Sheema Classic success – albeit over 12f – was out of the very top-drawer. St Mark’s Basilica receives 10lbs weight-for-age and has won his last three all in Group 1 company including two classics. Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle on Aidan O’Brien’s colt but he has yet to taste success on this son of son of Siyouni having finished third on the colt in the National Stakes at the Curragh back in October.

Montatham (2.25) won the corresponding valuable mile handicap from a mark of 100 last season and can follow up this afternoon from a 9lbs higher mark although apprentice Adam Faragher takes off a valuable 5lbs. The ew recommendation – 6s with William Hill 5 places – was a bit too keen for his own good when third at Doncaster on his reappearance and he has a cracking draw in stall four for one who can race prominently.     

Statement (3.00) has not built on an excellent comeback run in the Fred Darling behind subsequent Coronation Stakes winner Alcohol Free, but she was slowly away at Epsom last time in a race that the winner was able to dictate from the front. She was only beaten 6L in the Guineas on her penultimate start and this stiff mile should suit. Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle on the recommendation who is 2s with Boylesports.

At Haydock Dhushan (2.05) has a moderate draw to overcome in stall ten in the 1m 6f handicap for the classic generation, but I feel he remains well treated despite being given a 7lbs rise for his recent Musselburgh success over 12f. This step up in trip promises to see him in an even better light and I believe he could be a group horse in a handicap. Danny Tudhope has been in the saddle for his two wins this term and he keeps the ride. The selection is 7/2 with Boylesports. Do note there was the possibility of significant rain at Haydock and the selection would NOT want the ground to deteriorate.

Valryian Steel (3.15) has been progressing well on the all-weather of late and he gets the each way vote in the Old Newton Cup for Roger Varian and Jack Mitchell. The ew selection – 7s with 10Bet 5 places – disappointed at Epsom on his reappearance but has won on turf previously and was pulled out of a Royal Ascot handicap on account of the heavy ground last month. The selection is well drawn in stall five and has won four of his six career starts although his penultimate success came in the stewards’ room.

Fivethousandtoone (4.25) finished last in the Commonwealth Cup on heavy ground on his reappearance, but he is a sprinter I have a lot of time for, and I expect him to land the 6f Conditions Stakes with Silvester De Sousa in the plate. His second in the Mill Reef Stakes as a juvenile is, arguably, the best form on offer and this represents a significant drop in grade. Note he is not entered in the July Cup next week but does have entries in a couple of Group races over 7f going forward. With that in mind this test may be on the sharp side for this son of Frankel, but he can take this before being upped in class later in the campaign. The selection is 6/5 with William Hill.  

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