St Mark’s Basilica Answers O’Brien’s Coral-Eclipse Prayers

July 4, 2021

The Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park is the first opportunity to see the cream of this year’s three year old crop take on the best of the older horses in a not-to-be missed Group One clash of the titans.

And what the great race was lacking in quantity today it certainly made up for in quantity, with three of the world’s 15 highest rated horses doing battle.

With seven other races on the card there were plenty of other talking points, including a 1,007-1 four-timer for Champion Jockey contender Tom Marquand. We sent Graham Clark to pick out five things we learned on the day …


All eyes might be on Rome this weekend for England’s Euro 2020 quarter final against Ukraine, but it was a horse named after a Venice landmark who stole the show in the Coral-Eclipse.

St Mark’s Basilica produced an impressive performance to triumph over his older rivals and land one of world horseracing’s most prestigious races.

Victory secured Aidan O’Brien’s place as the joint most successful trainer in Coral-Eclipse history with six wins and the master of Ballydoyle heaped praise on the colt, describing him as the best three year old he has ever run in the race.

With half a mile left of the 1m 1f Group One contest it looked like being a three-way battle to remember between three of the world’s best 15 horses, with older rivals Addeybb and Mishriff applying plenty of pressure at the front end.

But when jockey Ryan Moore asked the Evens favourite St Mark’s Basilica to find more he duly delivered, easing to a three and a half length victory over William Haggas’s Addeybb (7-2), with John Gosden’s Mishriff (9-4) a neck further back in third.

Afterwards O’Brien said: “Ryan was blown away by him out there today. He couldn’t believe when he asked him to quicken how well he quickened. We were over the moon and we are delighted to have him.

“He is a relaxed traveller so he doesn’t use any energy so when he comes on he comes on slowly and when they do go for him he really turns it on. I think it is a mark of a good horse when they can quicken like that.

“He came here today and ran against two proper older horses. They weren’t middle of the road older horses. There was pressure on him as he was going to be exposed if he wasn’t very good. They didn’t go very fast and he gave the two older horses first run and Ryan followed them in behind but he quickened up and put it to bed very quick which we were very impressed with. He does everything right.”

Asked to put into context just how good the performance might turn out to be, O’Brien replied: “He is a very good horse. I don’t know if we have come to an Eclipse before with a three year old as strong as that against older horses. I can’t remember doing that.

“He is progressing all the time. I think the Juddmonte or the Irish Champion will be next but he could do both as there is enough time between them.”

Sandown Park, Jockey Club Article excerpt, Graham Clark

Photo: Sandown Park Twitter @sandownpark

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