Jockey David Egan insists three-time Group One winner Mishriff must not be written off ahead of his bid to win Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park, a race he says the five year old is “tuned up and ready to go” for.
The John and Thady Gosden-trained colt has not been seen since disappointing at the Saudi Cup in February but is no stranger to running well on the back of an absence, winning the world’s richest race after a break in 2021.
Mishriff, a son of Make Believe, faces a tough task in conceding weight to two Classic-winning three year olds in Vadeni and Native Trail in Saturday’s star-studded renewal of the Coral-Eclipse.
But Egan believes his charge has every chance in the prestigious contest and said: “I’ve sat on him a number of times over the past couple of weeks leading into Saturday. He feels in good form and seems tuned up and ready to go.
“He’s done it before when people have possibly written him off and he’s bounced back better than ever on a number of occasions, so he’s an exciting horse in that sense, knowing that he’s done that previously. He’s the highest-rated horse in the race so on figures (with an Official Rating of 125) he’s certainly the one to beat.
“It’s a hard thing to do to give 10lbs away to improving three years olds at this time of year, but he’s got the form in the book. It’s a small and select field but it’s a boutique one and I think everyone can make a case for winning the race. It’s a small field of six but to be so select means it’s going to be a great contest.”
When asked to reflect on the opposition, the 23 year old continued: “Vadeni was impressive (when winning the Prix du Jockey Club). You have to respect any Classic winner for sure and he had the race won at the two pole. I’d say the stiff finish at Sandown wouldn’t affect him as he hit the line strong, though I don’t think he’s encountered ground as fast as it’s expected to be on Saturday, so it will be interesting for sure.
“I’ve finished behind Native Trail and he’s a tough competitor. What he was doing last year was phenomenal. Physically he was much more advanced you could say than all the other horses last year and possibly the others are starting to catch up now – though he was very impressive at the Curragh last month.
“You can’t fault him in any way and he’s another horse who giving 10lbs to is going to be tough, so we’ll see.
“Mishriff has been in a lot of tactical battles, so I wouldn’t be worried about that aspect of things. He’s a straightforward and more mature horse now which will only be an asset to him.”
Harry Aitkenhead, spokesman for the sponsor Coral, added: “We are really looking forward to the race on Saturday and Vadeni is our current 13-8 favourite.
“He’s the first French-trained favourite since 1999 and the first French runner since 2005, so it’s really exciting for us.
“Bay Bridge and Native Trail are 7-2 joint second favourites and Mishriff is 7-1 for David – so it’s a fantastic field.”
Coral-Eclipse (Group 1) (Part of the QIPCO British Champions Series) 1m 1f 209y – Declared Runners
3.35pm – Sandown Park, Saturday 2nd July
1 (6) Alenquer (FR) 4 9 9 M M Stables William Haggas Tom Marquand
2 (2) Bay Bridge 4 9 9 James Wigan & Ballylinch Stud Sir Michael Stoute Ryan Moore
3 (1) Lord North (IRE) 6 9 9 HH Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed Racing John & Thady Gosden James Doyle
4 (3) Mishriff (IRE) 5 9 9 Prince A. A. Faisal John & Thady Gosden David Egan
5 (5) Native Trail 3 8 13 Godolphin Charlie Appleby William Buick
6 (4) Vadeni (FR) 3 8 13 H.H. Aga Khan Jean Claude Rouget France Christophe Soumillon
6 declared runners
Coral-Eclipse, Coral odds: 13-8 Vadeni; 7-2 Bay Bridge, Native Trail; 7-1 Mishriff; 15-2 Alenquer; 18-1 Lord North
The first Group One clash of the generations of the season, the 10-furlong contest commemorates the great Eclipse (1764-1789). Undefeated in all of his 18 starts, Eclipse went on to become one of the great patriarchs of the modern Thoroughbred racehorse, so much so that around 95 per cent of today’s racehorses have direct lineage back to Eclipse – including all six horses engaged in this year’s Coral-Eclipse.
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.
The Coral-Eclipse is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
The Jockey Club Release