Eclipse contenders getting in line


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The field for this weekend’s Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park is taking shape as Aidan O’Brien and Richard Hannon confirmed their plans.

O’Brien, who has won the Eclipse on five occasions and has five contenders remaining in the field for Saturday, says his Epsom Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher is on course for Sandown.

The Ballydoyle handler saw Hannon’s Barney Roy thwart his dual 2,000 Guineas winner Churchill in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and he is also poised for the Esher track.

O’Brien has been pleased with preparations for Cliffs Of Moher. He told At The Races: “We’re very happy so far. This will be a big week for him, but so far, so good.

“We’ve been very happy with him since Epsom.” Barney Roy lost his unbeaten record to Churchill at Newmarket in May, before gaining revenge at Royal Ascot.

The Godolphin colt has won three of his four career starts and while Hannon admits that extra two-furlongs of the Eclipse is an unquantifiable element in the equation, he prefers Sandown to his other option of sending Barney Roy to France on Sunday for the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly.

Hannon told the Telegraph: “I’m favouring the Eclipse. “He doesn’t need any work and has come out of the St James’s Palace great.

“I can’t say I’m very confident he’ll get a mile and a quarter, but there’s every chance.

“He has always run to the line over a mile and is out of a Galileo mare.”

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