Horse Betting: Eclipse Preview
“Farhh is a must play option in my view, not only because I think he'll win but with a price in our favour.”
Saturday's Eclipse Stakes at Sandown is one of the best races of the year, anywhere. The 2012 renewal of the Eclipse Stakes is a ripper and better still, I fancy there's an irresistible bet in the race.
It may well be the favourite, which is rarely my bent but Godolphin's Farhh is a must play option in my view, not only because I think he'll win but with a price in our favour.
When I last looked he was a general $3.50 chance with English bookmakers and better odds again on Betfair at $3.65. Given that he had been trimmed to as short as 3/1 with some firms while So You Think was still in the race, I find the current trading option irresistibly luxurious, and for a number of reasons:
1 - there's little doubt in my view that he was a good thing beaten behind So You Think in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes and four of the past five older winners of the Eclipse have run 2nd, 3rd or 4th in the Royal Ascot race. Farhh was third behind SYT and Carlton House who don't line up at Sandown.
2 - despite the stable's quoted reservations about his inexperience at the top level they were happy to pay a 30,000 pounds ($46,000) late entry fee which is a significant amount of money even for those with plenty of it.
3 - the ground is likely have genuine give which is his preferred type of surface.
4 - the pace promises to be at the very least reasonable which suits.
5 - none of his principal rivals have his recent match practice and no winner in the past ten years has come off a break.
I am pleased to report that Timeform concurs with my sentiments.
Timeform's Matt Gardner notes: "Having put up one of the best handicap performances of recent seasons when demolishing his rivals in the Thirsk Hunt Cup, Farhh went on to finish third to So You Think at Ascot, giving a very good account of himself but leaving the impression that there was yet more to come.
"Farhh virtually fell out of the stalls under Frankie Dettori and was hampered approaching the final furlong, finishing best of all but simply running out of time.
"That experience is likely to have aided his development, and with So You Think out, Farhh could well be the ammunition of choice," Gardner concludes, and much to my liking.
As for the other runners, I am happy to risk the three-year-olds, Bonfire and Cogito, as they do not have the form credentials of past winners of this race from that age group.
City Style and Sri Putra, both queries on soft ground, cannot beat Farhh in any case on their respective runs at Royal Ascot.
And Twice Over would not appear to be in the form which saw him win this race in 2010.
Thus we're left with four other 'potential' winners in my opinion, Cityscape, Crackerjack King, Monterosso and Nathaniel. They each come off a break which, as mentioned, has not been the usual winning recipe for this testing 2000 metres contest.
The Dubai Duty Free winner Cityscape is capable wet or dry and he may lead unchallenged and his Dubai win did come off a break. I suspect his last run (in Hong Kong) was simply an aberration. His two previous efforts were nothing short of outstanding.
Yes, he's untried at 2000 metres but has won at 1800 metres and he's one rival I'm not in a hurry to lay.
Crackerjack King , now part-owned in Australian interests, has won seven of eight starts with his only failure coming at his only start on soft ground (although it wasn't that soft). While the Arc winner Danedream did finish 4.5 lengths behind him on one occasion that was before her ascent to great heights. This is first real test against legitimate group one competition, and he's probably trading at about the right price.
The Dubai World Cup winner Monterosso has a very good record at 2000 metres but has never raced on soft ground. The Godolphin second string to Farhh is expected to be better for the run according to the stable but a win would hardly shock.
Interestingly, the record of World Cup winners post Dubai is poor. Seven of the past ten winners either did not win again or did not race again. However, the record of Godolphin's World Cup winners is a little better than that it has to be said.
Nathaniel is a tough and classy on-pace stayer. He ran Frankel to a half length on debut and was able to win first-up at 2400 metres last year. However, he's trading as low as he should be I fancy given his fresh fifth behind Cirrus des Aigles and So You Think in the Champions Stakes last October. He hasn't raced since then which sets him some task.
In the end, I fancy it's all about Farhh barring bad luck or an abominable pace.