Eclipse Stakes Betting

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The Eclipse Stakes is a premier Group 1 flat horse race. It is held in early July each year at the Sandown Park racecourse, located in the outer suburbs of London at Esher, Surrey. The name of the race honours a celebrated 18th-century racehorse that went undefeated in 18 outings, claiming 11 King’s Plates in just 17 months.

So dominant was Eclipse that others refused to race against the stallion, hence the saying, “Eclipse first and the rest nowhere.” The champion was sent to stud without ever being truly tested, but he went on to sire more than 340 winners. It has been estimated by the Royal Veterinary College that Eclipse’s blood runs in 80% of all of today’s modern Thoroughbreds.

Flat Racing of Historic Proportions

The inaugural Eclipse Stakes was run in 1886. With a purse of £10,000, it was Britain’s richest race at the time, funded by Leopold de Rothschild, a friend of Sandown Park co-founder General Owen Williams. That purse has grown to £500,000 in recent years, with a top prize of just over £283,000 going to the runner aged three years or older that can cover the distance of one mile, two furlongs and seven yards (2,018 metres) the fastest.

Plenty of Classic winners and many of racing’s all-time greats have crossed the line first at the Eclipse Stakes, notably Mill Reef (1971), Brigadier Gerard (1972), Sadler’s Wells (1984), the filly Pebbles (1985), Dancing Brave (1986), and Nashwan (1989). Among jockeys, Lester Piggott won the Eclipse seven times between 1951 and 1977. More recently, Michael Kinane has succeeded four times, starting with Opera House in 1994 and including the 2009 winner, Sea The Stars.

Alec Taylor Jr. is the race’s most successful trainer, posting six wins between 1909 and 1923. In the post-war era, three of the sport’s greatest trainers have won five times: Noel Murless between 1957 and 1970, Vincent O’Brien in the period 1958~1984, and Sir Michael Stoute between 1993 and 2007. Now Aidan O’Brien is looking for his fifth win, having already taken home four victories since 2000.

For many years, the race was sponsored by tobacco maker Benson & Hedges. Then, in 1976, bookmaker Coral assumed the title role and the race has become commonly known as the Coral-Eclipse ever since.

Racing at Sandown Park

Sandown Park has substantial leisure facilities in addition to its horse racing course, making it a prime venue for music events, toy fairs, car shows, comedy acts, and property shows, as well as flat and jump racing fixtures. There is a go-kart track and an 18-hole golf course with a driving range, along with a 120-metre dry ski slope for snowboarding and skiing.

The racecourse is a right-hand oval of turf, well suited to fast running. It has a spacious and modern Grandstand positioned as close to the track as possible, with a rear balcony overlooking the Parade Ring. There are bars linked to the seating areas, along with a number of restaurants and food outlets nearby. The official Sandown Park dress code is smart casual, although many race-goers can be seen dressed up for the main event.

In the Eclipse Stakes, three-year-olds receive a 10-pound weight-for-age allowance. The age groups match up quite evenly, which makes for exciting racing. Indeed, since 1990, exactly seven winners each have come from the three, four, and five-year-old age groups.

Sandown Park’s Coral Eclipse Day, which is also the racecourse’s Ladies Day, includes seven races in total. Gates open at 11am, with the last start at 5:30pm. A crowd of about 14,000 can be expected and the tote is always busy throughout, with bets starting at just £2.

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