Tuesday 17 October 2017

Farhh to tackle Eclipse

So You Think (R) beating Workforce in last year's Coral-Eclipse Stakes – Aidan O'Brien's colt is favourite for Saturday's race
So You Think (R) beating Workforce in last year's Coral-Eclipse Stakes – Aidan O'Brien's colt is favourite for Saturday's race

JA McGrath

Having scuppered Aidan O'Brien in the Ascot Gold Cup, Godolphin are aiming to put one over on the Ballydoyle supremo again after supplementing Farhh for Saturday's Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

O'Brien's So You Think has been installed 10/11 favourite to record his second win in the race, but confidence is growing among Sheikh Mohammed's team that the lightly-raced Farhh is progressing fast enough to capture the spoils.

The Godolphin representative has been installed 4/1 second favourite and Frankie Dettori will take the mount in the Group One contest over 10 furlongs.

glorious

Farhh really caught the eye at Royal Ascot, although he finished a couple of lengths off So You Think, which is bidding to bring the curtain down on a glorious racecourse career in two hemispheres on a winning note before heading off to stud.

So You Think is scheduled to start covering his first mares when the Australian breeding season commences later in the year.

It has been known for quite some time that Frankel would bypass the Eclipse, while Carlton House, runner-up to So You Think in the Princes Of Wales's Stakes, is also a defector.

O'Brien has left Daddy Long Legs, Windsor Palace and Robin Hood in the race as pacemaking back-up for the two-times Cox Plate winner.

So You Think gave Joseph O'Brien his first Royal Ascot winner, so the horse should already have earned special regard from his young partner, who also numbers the 2,000 Guineas and Derby as big wins in a memorable season.

Farhh was unbeaten going into the Prince Of Wales's Stakes, and he flew home for third after looking unlucky at the top of the home straight. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor will be keeping a close watch on the weather as his representative prepares for another Group One.

"He is taking on very good horses again," Bin Suroor said. "But he showed in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes that he is an improving horse and that a mile and a quarter suits him well. Softer ground is the key for him, and I hope there is plenty of rain before the weekend."

Godolphin will also run their Dubai World Cup winner Monterosso, which will be partnered by Mickael Barzalona, and possibly City Style.

Nathaniel has been put in at 9/1 by the sponsor, but trainer John Gosden has yet to commit last year's King George winner as a certain runner on Saturday.

"We're looking at the King George again and with the race coming forward one week because of the Olympics it means there are now only two weeks between Sandown and Ascot, when normally there would be three.

"He was supposed to run in the Brigadier Gerard earlier in the season but couldn't because he had muck on his lungs, so this is his first run of the season, and there is not long to recover afterwards. We will think about it."

French trainer Corine Barande-Barbe believes Cirrus Des Aigles was "got at" after the gelding returned a positive test for a massive dose of a banned anti-inflammatory drug at Longchamp at the end of May.

Barande-Barbe suspects foul play could be the reason last season's Champion Stakes winner tested positive when he finished second to Golden Lilac. "I went to the police on Saturday to complain against it," said Barande-Barbe.

"I'm very surprised and very afraid because if someone can get to the horse they could kill him. If it happens to us, it can happen to anybody. If people begin to hate and are jealous it is terrible. I communicated about the problem as soon as I knew about the positive result because I have nothing to hide. We are sure we didn't give him anything; I am confident in my yard. People can only get into his box with a key."

Barande-Barbe feels unless the situation is cleared up, she will be tarnished for the rest of her career. She said: "It is so surprising. If he had won by 10 lengths maybe you could say someone gave him something, but not then.

"The dose is so massive it makes no sense. I don't want to think there has been an error but we will ask them (France Galop) to analyse again.

"Anywhere else in the world -- Ascot, Meydan, Hong Kong -- nobody goes to the stables, yet at Longchamp everybody goes to the stables and they can hurt your horse. I think the story is not finished at all." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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