Golden Horn makes most of opportunity in Eclipse

Frankie Dettori pilots Golden Horn to victory in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown. Picture: Getty
Frankie Dettori pilots Golden Horn to victory in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown. Picture: Getty
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Derby hero Golden Horn stretched his unbeaten record to five with a superb all-the-way victory in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

John Gosden’s colt was a stunning winner of the premier Classic at Epsom last month and was the 4-9 favourite for his first appearance against his elders.

With just five runners going to post, who would make the running was uncertain, but Frankie Dettori kept things simple aboard the market leader and after a tardy start, soon allowed him to stride on at the head of affairs.

The Grey Gatsby, a dual Group One winner and just touched off in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, was widely regarded as the biggest threat to his younger opponent and kept at close quarters throughout in the hands of Jamie Spencer.

The big two settled down to fight it out in the straight and just for a moment it looked as though The Grey Gatsby might cause a minor upset.

However, in receipt of 11lb, Golden Horn began to assert in the final furlong and passed the post three and a half lengths to the good.

The winner’s stable companion Western Hymn was a long way back in third.

Dettori said: “I was in front and Jamie was very clever and attacked me early. He eyeballed me and this horse showed what a true champion he is. He showed a lot of guts to get the win in the end.”

Winning owner-breeder Anthony Oppenheimer said: “I was always worried with The Grey Gatsby there and they were fighting it out towards the end.

“Then, suddenly, this horse found another gear and just took off. Frankie says we haven’t got to the bottom of him yet, so we shall see.

“It’s very exciting, very exciting indeed. I think the horse will tell us [where to run next], and John Gosden.

“We don’t know how much it’s taking out of him, we’ll see weight-wise. It seems as though he didn’t have too hard a race, although it looked hard.”

The King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in three weeks’ time is the next possible target for Golden Horn, but connections will not rush a decision on his participation.