Charlie Appleby’s Epsom Derby hero Masar heads the betting for Saturday’s Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.
The three-year-old provided a huge shock in the fourth Classic of the season when turning over 1/2 favourite Saxon Warrior at the Surrey course last month.
Surprisingly the duo could be set to do battle again, with the Warrior one of five Aidan O’Brien-trained hopefuls left in following Monday’s five-day declaration stage.
Yet it’s the Godolphin runner who is by far and away the more fancied to land the Eclipse at Sandown.
His season had been mixed prior to victory in the Derby; a dominant performance in the Craven Stakes followed up by third-place finish in the 2000 Guineas in May.
Now he looks set to go for a second Group 1 prize in a row after being supplemented for the 1m2f contest at the weekend. He’s the 5/4 favourite with our traders.
It’s John Gosden and Roaring Lion who provide the main opposition at 15/8. The son of Kitten’s Joy has finished behind the jolly on no fewer than three occasions already this season.
His one victory so far this campaign came in the 1m2½f Dante Stakes at York on good-to-firm ground, which could bode well at Sandown, give the similar distance on offer.
Incredibly, Irish-trainer O’Brien’s best hope appears to be with the third-favourite, Happily.
The Galileo filly is a 9/2 shot to land the renewal after narrowly coming up short in the 1,000 Guineas, Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Prix de Diane at Chantilly already this season.
She shaped as though she enjoyed the extra 2f afforded to her in France last time out, and could be a danger here as a result.
Saxon Warrior was the beaten for the second time in as many outings at the weekend after failing to justify favouritism in the Irish Derby at the Curragh.
It’s something of a surprise that he’s been left in for the Eclipse so soon after defeat in the Emerald Isle. He may yet be withdrawn, but can currently be backed at 8/1.
He’s joined at the same-price by 2016 Eclipse winner Hawkbill, who has proved hugely disappointing since recording back-to-back Group 1 and 2 wins at Meydan in March.
Recent form suggests the five-year-old will be unable to mount a challenge against his younger competitors. But as Ulysses showed last year, anything is possible in the Eclipse.
Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “Masar and Roaring Lion look closely matched and we won’t be running away from either of them. The one we do want to keep with is Happily, who will more than likely be the leading Aiden O’Brien fancy on the day.”
Ladbrokes Latest Betting:
Eclipse Stakes odds
Masar – 5/4
Roaring Lion – 15/8
Happily – 9/2
Saxon Warrior – 8/1
Forest Ranger – 12/1
Cliffs of Moher – 16/1
Rostropovich – 16/1
Yucatan – 25/1
Hawkbill – 25/1
Raymond Tusk – 66/1
Click here for the latest Eclipse Stakes odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.