King of Stats: Trends don’t bode well for Eclipse favourite

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Some talented horses can count themselves among the more recent winners of the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.

In the last decade, the rollcall of winners include Sea The Stars, So You Think, Nathaniel, Al Kazeem and Golden Horn.

Only seven runners have been entered this year and our resident King of Stats has looked back over the trends familiar across the most recent victors to pick out the most likely winner in 2016:

12 of the last 14 winners had run at least twice already in the same season

This rules out rank outsider Countermeasure, whose sole start was when finishing second in a handicap at Kempton.

Time Test is also removed from the shortlist, despite taking victory in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes on his only run of the campaign.

13 of the last 14 winners have already won in Group 1 company previously

This makes a big dent in the Eclipse field, with Bravery not having triumphed at anything above maiden company, Hawkbill’s five-race winning sequence hasn’t come above Group 3 level and Western Hymn’s best result at the top level has been third on three occasions.

This already narrows the line-up to two possible winners – odds-on favourite The Gurkha and his nearest rival in the betting My Dream Boat.

Splitting the top two

And there are a couple of big statistics which stack up against the market leader.

Both three-year-old winners of the Eclipse in the last decade had also triumphed in the Epsom Derby earlier in the same season. The Gurkha didn’t take part in that Classic.

Meanwhile, the record of star trainer Aidan O’Brien with three-year-olds over the last 10 years is terrible.

Of his 11 entrants in this age group, the Irish handler has failed to saddle a winner and been responsible for a solitary placed horse.

My Dream Boat also fits the trend of nine of the last 14 winners having run at Royal Ascot on the most recent start prior heading to Sandown for the Eclipse.

Clive Cox’s four-year-old warmed up by landing the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at the Royal meeting, which was the race where heavily fancied Japanese raider A Shin Hikari flopped.

My Dream Boat should also relish any ease in the ground conditions at Sandown and has won both of his previous career starts over the Eclipse distance of 1m2f.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.