A final field of 12 classy middle-distance runners will tackle the 2014 Eclipse Stakes on Saturday, after the final field & barrier draw was released on Wednesday.
The Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) is one of six Group races running at Sandown Racecourse this weekend, making up the Zipping Classic Day which happens to be the final leg of the 2014 spring racing carnival.
Henry Dwyer’s Sonntag leads the race with a rating of 102 ahead of Rhythm To Spare on 98. Of course Sonntag’s run won’t be without his disadvantages. The four-year-old gelding will carry the top weight of 58.5kg in the race, up to four and a half kilos more than his rivals, and will jump wide from barrier ten.
Sonntag has had a light spring campaign, running in just the Listed Sale Cup (1600m) on October 26. However he comfortably won the race, adding to his tally of three consecutive wins. The gelding won the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) on June 7 and will be reunited with hoop Chad Schofield after he suffered a fall and had to miss out on the Sale Cup.
This gelding really looks the one to beat in the Eclipse Stakes, finishing first three in all six of his last starts. However he faces some tough competition from the likes of Rhythm To Spare, and Pheidon.
Michael Moroney’s Rhythm To Spare has run in three Group One races his last times out, and though he couldn’t manage to find the placings in any of them, it puts the gelding in a good position heading into this Group Three race.
He finished ninth first up in the Group 1 Rupert Clarke Charity Cup (1400m) after getting battled away in the last bit of the race. The gelding had his best run in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) on October 11, finishing just outside the placings and only 1¼ lengths off the winner. However Rhythm To Spare couldn’t find this form again in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) last Saturday, coming up lame after the race.
He will jump from barrier nine with Damian Lane to ride.
Gai Waterhouse’s Pheidon is one to watch, though the gelding will have to overcome a wide start from barrier 11 with Craig Williams. Pheidon has had some good runs this season, finishing just outside the placings in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) in which he would have benefitted from a longer distance, winning the City Jeep Handicap (2040m) on October 24 and finishing third last time out in the Listed James Boag’s Premium Stakes (1800m), just a neck off the winner.
The gelding also enjoyed a tilt in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in which he was fast out the gates to be in the front few. He was still fighting it out when it counted and gave a very solid effort, finishing sixth and just under 2 lengths off winner He’s Your Man.
The Wez Hunter-trained Bel Thor, who won the Listed Darley Seymour Cup (1600m) on October 19, will enjoy a start from barrier four while The Inventor scored the inside run from barrier one.
Check out the complete 2014 Eclipse Stakes final field & barrier draw below to get a comprehensive idea of the race.
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2014 Eclipse Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||x4x31211x1||SONNTAG||Henry Dwyer||Chad Schofield||10||58.5kg||102|
|2||68011×5950||RHYTHM TO SPARE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Damian Lane||9||56.5kg||98|
|3||1626×94613||PHEIDON||Gai Waterhouse||Craig Williams||11||56kg||97|
|4||413×482650||JACQUINOT BAY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Nicholas Hall||7||55.5kg||96|
|5||692090×715||BEL THOR||Wez Hunter||Jamie Mott||4||55kg||95|
|6||40927×4676||ESCADO||Matt Laurie||Stephen Baster||12||55kg||95|
|7||32230×3332||EXTRA ZERO||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||8||54kg||91|
|8||1317122041||TRISTRAM’S SUN (NZ)||Robbie Laing||Vlad Duric||6||54kg||91|
|9||x0907x1x46||ZABISCO (NZ)||Darren Weir||Kerrin McEvoy||3||54kg||91|
|10||1196×20020||CORREGGIO (NZ)||Murray Johnson||Ben Melham||5||54kg||90|
|11||2218119×72||THE INVENTOR||Bevan Laming||James McDonald||1||54kg||90|
|12||6811×58843||BY THE GRACE||Andrew Noblet||Dwayne Dunn||2||54kg||75|