Third Group 1 for Paddington With Coral-Eclipse Victory

July 9, 2023

By Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Paddington (8/11f) won his third Group 1 race of the season on Saturday when claiming the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, England.

The victory by the son of Siyouni gave his successful handler Aidan O’Brien a seventh win in the race, becoming the winning-most trainer in the history of the contest first staged in 1886 – O’Brien had previously held the record jointly with Michael Stoute and Alec Taylor Jr.

The three-year-old Paddington, a €420,000 purchase from the Arqana Deauville October Yearling Sale, was sent off an odds-on favourite in the betting market in the small but select four-runner field. The Ryan Moore-ridden colt previously won the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh in May before taking the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. 

It was a clash of the generations as his main rival, Emily Upjohn (85-40), is a four-year-old, who as a result had to give seven pounds weight to her younger rival. Paddington had previously won both of his Group 1 races at a mile so was stepping up in distance while Emily Upjohn’s most recent success had been the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Epsom over a mile and a half.

In a race where Paddington broke smartly, he took up a spot behind race leader West Wind Blows. Always prominent, Paddington wasn’t challenged by the John and Thady Gosden-trained Emily Upjohn until two furlongs from home.

As the filly appeared on his outside, Moore asked Paddington to quicken but soon had a battle on his hands, though he never realistically looked like losing that tussle. As the market rivals battled to the wire, the Coolmore partners-owned colt proved too good for the older filly and had a half-length advantage at the winning post. The front runner for most of the race, West Wind Wild (12/1), was a further six lengths back in third place.

It was a seventh victory in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse for the Coolmore partners, making them the winning-most owners on the race’s history, moving them one win ahead of the Al Maktoum’s Godolphin operation. 

The previous Coolmore wins came from Giant’s Causeway (2000), Hawk Wing (2002), Oratorio (2005), Mount Nelson (2008), So You Think (2011), and St Mark’s Basilica (2021) – all trained at Ballydoyle, Co Tipperary, by Aidan O’Brien. It was also a 16th victory for an Irish-trained horse in the one-and-a-quarter-mile race. 

Giving an initial reaction post-race, the winning handler Aidan O’Brien hinted that Paddington, one of nine Group 1 winners to date for champion French sire Siyouni, may race next in the Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, England, next month, where he would again drop back to the one-mile distance.

Speaking to host broadcaster ITV Racing, the Irish trainer said:

“He’s getting quicker. Ryan said he’s hitting the gates quickly, travelling very easy through the race and he’s getting there and waiting. He was heavier here than he was at Ascot which is unusual, so he is obviously turning into a very quick horse. He’s a dream. The lads (Coolmore partners) will make a decision where we go next, but I’d imagine they would look at the Sussex Stakes, but we’ll see how he comes out of this. That isn’t set in stone, but I could see that as something they would look at.”

The County Wexford-born conditioner continued:

“He is getting quicker when he is getting heavier like that. Ryan gave him an absolute peach (of a ride). There were three others in the race but he was very confident going out as he knew what he was going to do, whether he was going to be in front or behind or whatever. He has progressed with every single run. He is a serious horse.”

Despite displaying battling qualities when challenged by Emily Upjohn down the stretch, jockey Ryan Moore, who was winning the Group 1 contest for the third time, told ITV Racing:

“I don’t think we saw the best of Paddington. He brought me there very comfortably and I felt I was very vulnerable in the middle of the track. He was exposed and a very good filly came running at him. She’s seriously top-class. He’s got an awful lot of pace and a lot of gears – he’s all class really.

“He’s done nothing wrong and Aidan can keep bringing him back and backing him up. He’s a tough horse with plenty of ability. We had very little doubts about the trip. He could get further because he’s a very good horse and class is the thing that exposes everything else. This is a top-class colt and we’ll enjoy him,” Moore added.

John Gosden, joint trainer of runner-up Emily Upjohn, was satisfied with the run of his star filly, telling ITV Racing: 

“It was a superb performance with top, top-class horses. Let’s face it, she was giving seven pounds to the winner and her best distance is a mile and a half so she has run a blinder. The Arc (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp in October) will be her main aim at the end of the year.”

Contributing Authors

Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Breandán Ó hUallacháin writes about Irish, British, French and Australian horseracing, both National Hunt and Flat. He has an interest in the history of racing...

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