SURREY, U.K.—Thady Gosden believes both Mishriff and Lord North can make their presence felt if they bring their best form to the table in what promises to be a fascinating clash of the generations in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park on Saturday (2nd July).
A total of 11 contenders, including Irish 2000 Guineas winner Native Trail from the yard of Charlie Appleby and the Jean Claude Rouget-trained Prix Du Jockey Club winner Vadeni, who was supplemented for £50,000 today, remain on course for the Group One feature.
Mishriff and Lord North failed to beat a rival in their most recent appearances however Thady, who trains the pair with his father John in Newmarket, reports both horses to have enjoyed a solid run up to the mile and a quarter contest which form part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Lord North saw his chances of victory compromised at the start of his most recent run at Royal Ascot when jockey Frankie Dettori struggled to remove his blindfold at the beginning of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, a race which he won in 2020.
The gelded son of Dubawi, who dead-heated in the Group One Dubai Turf at Meydan in March, will be reunited with jockey James Doyle at the weekend. He is a 14-1 chance with sponsor Coral.
Thady Gosden said: “Lord North had an issues that kept him for most of last season and it was a pretty amazing achievement to go from one run at Lingfield to dead-heat in Dubai with a serious Japanese horse (Panthalassa).
“He didn’t have a hard race in the Prince of Wales’s as things didn’t go to plan there but he has come out of that very well.
“James won the Prince of Wales’s on him which was the horse’s first Group One and he knows him well. He has run well throughout this season.
“I think the extended mile and a quarter at The Curragh in the Tattersalls Gold Cup on his penultimate start was a bit far for him. They went hard in front and it was an unrelenting gallop and as you know you have to stay well at The Curragh.
“You can put a line through his last run and what he has been showing at home he seems to be his same old self.
“He has got plenty of speed and that mile one at Meydan suits him down to the ground. There are others in the race that stay well but we will have to see how the race pans out.
“He is a grand old character. If you talk to his rider and he will tell you that he is feeling well that’s for sure.”
This weekend’s race will be a first domestic start for last year’s third Mishriff, who was last sighted trailing home last when trying to defend his Saudi Cup crown in Riyadh back in February- an effort Thady believes a line can be put through.
Thady Gosden said: “They have both been left in at the five day stage and there is a good possibility that they will both run.
“Things didn’t go to plan at all in Saudi Arabia with Mishriff this year. He had a busy year last year so we gave him a bit of a break and freshened him up with the target being the Eclipse.
“The year before in Saudi it was a lot cooler and they had a bit of rain and the track rode very differently and the kick back this year was much more severe than the year before which was maybe down to artificial watering and the temperature.
“He has got a great attitude and is a very talented horse. He thoroughly enjoys his training and everything has been smooth enough so far with him.
“He ran well in the Eclipse last year (when finishing third) but he just got a bit tired late on as it is a stiff finish at Sandown.
“This year it is an incredibly competitive race and most of the field have very good claims and this is his first time out on UK soil so we will have to see how he goes.”
While respectful of the opposition Thady believes Mishriff, who is currently available at 10-1 with the race sponsor Coral, is more than capable of outrunning his odds.
He added: “Native Trail has plenty of speed and was obviously second in our Guineas and then won the Irish 2000 Guineas. He shapes like a horse that will be very comfortable stepping up to a mile and a quarter.
“You have Bay Bridge who ran a huge race first time out in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown before running an exceptional race in the Prince of Wales’s.
“There is a lot of depth to the race but Mishriff has been there before and it is a race that fits well for him.
“It is the first time back for him in Britain and he is taking on horses that are tuned up and race fit but it is a good place to start.
“People saw him run out in Saudi Arabia and that might have put a bit of doubt in people’s mind then you have to factor in the horses that have been running well over here and understandably the market supports them.
“Everyone at home has been very happy with him and he still has the same great attitude towards life. He goes there in great form.”
This year also marks the 10th anniversary of John Gosden’s first victory in the race with Nathaniel, who has gone on to enjoy a successful career at stud with 11-time Group One heroine Enable and 2022 Cazoo Derby winner Desert Crown among his progeny.
Having opened his Group One account in the 2011 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes the previous season the son of Galileo doubled his tally of top level victories when making a winning return in the 10 furlong showpiece under William Buick
Tracking early pace setter City Style for much of the race the 7-2 chance took command of affairs midway up the homes straight before defeating Farrh by half a length much to the delight of Buick, who will be aboard Native Trail in this year’s renewal.
Buick recalls “Early on in my career he was a great horse. The year he won the Eclipse that was his first start of the year and it was a good field he beat.
“As I remember it he just seemed to outstay everything in the race. He was a horse that wore his heart on his sleeve. He could really maintain a good gallop which he did that day.
“We followed the pacemaker which was in there for Frankie (Dettori) on Farhh. The pace was even and took it up early in the straight. He never felt, or looked like getting beat that day.
“That was his first run of the year and he was really a mile and a half horse but he had enough class to win over a mile and a quarter and he ran some other good races over that trip as well as he was second in an Irish Champion and third in a Champion Stakes.
“He was a late maturing horse but he always had the raw ability. Like many other horses he was unlucky that Frankel was around as Frankel made most horses look ordinary but Nathaniel was a good horse in his own right.”
The Coral-Eclipse is the longest-running Group race sponsorship anywhere in the world and 2022 will be the 47th year of Coral’s support, stretching back to 1976. The sponsors are a mission to get their customers closer to the action and new for this year they have created a pioneering virtual race experience in partnership with JockeyCam that will enable racegoers at Sandown Park to experience exactly what it’s like to ride as a jockey in the Coral-Eclipse.
By Graham Clark