A below-par gallops workout has not only robbed horse racing enthusiasts of a showdown between the winners of the French and English Derbies, but has also created a definitive one-sided look to the Coral-Eclipse betting.
Andre Fabre’s decision to withdraw New Bay from Saturday’s Sandown showpiece means that Epsom victor Golden Horn is a very short 2/7 to retain his unbeaten record and win at Group 1 level for a second time.
The reasoning is obvious given that his official rating is 3lb higher than the other four entrants in the field and he gets to shoulder 11lb less in weight because he is a three-year-old taking on older horses.
Few will be confident of taking Golden Horn on from a punting perspective, but Ladbrokes are offering top prices on three of the other quartet for those believing the four-race win streak of John Gosden’s horse will end.
The Grey Gatsby is 7/2 and was arguably unlucky not to collar Free Eagle in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot when going down by a short head.
But his chance would seemingly solely hinge on the favourite running an unexpectedly disappointing race.
The same cannot be said of Cougar Mountain, who looks a far more attractive betting proposition at Ladbrokes’ top price of 12/1.
Chief reason is that Cougar Mountain is stepping up in trip, while the two market leaders are arguably competing over a distance shorter than ideal.
What can’t be argued is that when Golden Horn won the Dante over 1m2f and the Derby over 1m4f, the early pace in both races was strong. Yet in the latter, he still ran a little loosely early on and required Frankie Dettori to take a pull.
There is no obvious pace setter in the Eclipse, which is over 1m2f, and it could well turn into a tactical contest, with the early stages completed at a sedate pace.
Cougar Mountain was running in Group 1 races over sprint distances at the back end of last season and was most recently seen finishing strongly to take third over 1m behind Solow at Royal Ascot.
Golden Horn may not possess this same tactical speed, especially off a slow gallop. This facet of his profile is certainly untested.
At the Eclipse prices, Cougar Mountain appears the clear value bet, with Western Hymn clearly at his best when some rain has fallen and Tullius not good enough for this level.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.