In the absence of So You Think, Nathaniel is the class act in today’s Coral Eclipse at Sandown (3.45) and is strongly fancied at 7/2 to give trainer John Gosden another big race winner.
Gosden and his stable jockey William Buick having been carrying all befoire them in recent weeks, and although this is nathaniel’s belated seaonal reappearance he is sure to be fit enough to do himself justice and has the strongest form in the book.
The son of Galileo developed into an ultra smart three-year-old, slamming Fiorente by 5 lengths in the group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot before landing the Group 1 King George at the berkshire venue.
He dictated the pace that day after two furlongs and quickened well to beat 2010 Derby and Arc winner Workforce by 2 3/4 lenghs despite edging left inside the last, and had St Nicholas Abbey a further 1 1/4 lengtsh behind in third.
Worforce had previously been beaten just 1/2 a length in this race by So You Think, and the form is very strong.
The selection was then far from disgarced when last seen in action over today’s trip of 1m 2f when 5th of 12 to the very classy Cirrus Des Aigles in the Champion Stakes at Ascot, where he kept on well to be beaten just over 3 lengths after leading and being headed approaching the last.
The second, third and fourth home – So You Think, Snow Fairy and Midday – are all top class multiple Group 1 winners and it was a far stronger contest than today’s.
I think he is entitled to be favourite for this, and has the class to overcome his absence and land the spoils in a race where he could get his own way upfront and be allowed to dictate.
Farrh is the obvious danger of his run behind So You Think at Royal Ascot is taken at face value, but he is a quirky sort who has an aversion to the stalls and I think he may have been flattered as he was going past beaten horses at the death.
In my book he still has it all to prove, and at the odds on offer he is terrible value compared to Nathaniel who has proven form at the highest level.
Daily Sport recommended bet: 4pts win Nathaniel (7/2 bet365, Betfred – BOG)