Racing: Eclipse in the sights of Weld's firepower

Dermot Weld, still flying after Zagreb's annihilation of the best Britain could muster in the Irish Derby on Sunday, may be gunning for the old enemy again at the weekend if Definite Article comes over for the Eclipse Stakes.

The four-year-old is among 10 declared for Sandown's summer showpiece. His rivals at this stage include the Derby hero, Shaamit, last year's Eclipse winner, Halling, and Pentire, the best 10-furlong three-year-old last season and put in as 5-2 favourite by the Group One race's sponsor, Coral.

Definite Article, who failed by a whisker to give Weld his first local Derby last year, beat Timarida and Annus Mirabilis in the Tattersalls Gold Cup over 10 furlongs in May, but is among Saturday's outsiders at 16-1. His trainer, however, warned against underrating the colt, saying yesterday: "If I send him - and he's 75 per cent likely to run, depending on his weight and blood picture later in the week - then he'll run a very good race. He's a big tough horse, and although the distance may be a shade short for him, he'll appreciate any cut in the ground and at 16- 1, he's cracking each-way value.''

After Dushyantor's defeat in Ireland on Sunday, Shaamit, rated an 11- 2 shot with William Hill for Saturday, will have a point to prove about the Derby form, but yesterday his trainer, William Haggas, said the colt was only 50-50 to run. "He missed a few days with his foot injury and blew a bit after he galloped on Saturday," Haggas said. "I'll know more after he works on Wednesday."

Haggas, while admitting he was mightily impressed by Zagreb's Irish Derby win, was still disappointed that his champion had to miss the race. "I didn't think Dushyantor ran his race; Pat [Eddery, who will be on board Shaamit on Saturday if he runs] seemed to be too hard at work too far out. Zagreb won like a good horse, but mine's a good one too and I would like to have had a crack at him."

You have to go back 13 years to find the last Derby winner not to start favourite on his next outing - Teenoso, second favourite to Caerleon when both were beaten by Shareef Dancer in the Irish Derby - but the perceived weakness of this year's Epsom form is such that Shaamit occupies only second or third place in the bookmakers' lists.

Halling, who disappointed when last behind Cigar in the Dubai World Cup, has since regained winning ways back on grass in the Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp in May. He is a definite starter, but his Godolphin stablemate Charnwood Forest, winner of the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, is not.

Godolphin director Simon Crisford said: "John Reid will ride Halling, but a decision about Charnwood Forest will be made later in the week. If he does not run, he'll go straight for the Sussex Stakes."

Another Royal Ascot mile winner, Bijou D'Inde, will try his luck over the extra two furlongs. His trainer, Mark Johnston, never one to duck a challenge, said: "The only place to find whether he stays or not is on the course. In the St James's Palace Stakes he looked as if he was staying on and could get further, but he is so versatile. We could drop him back to six furlongs and he'd take it in his stride.''

Pentire has had the Eclipse as his target since running a fine fourth in the Dubai World Cup, and though he has not been seen in public since, he has been sparkling in his homework. The other British-trained entries are Singspiel, beaten a neck by Halling last year and runner-up (for the third time in a Group One contest) in the Coronation Cup last month, and the outsiders Beauchamp King and Ela-Aristokrati.

The French have not won an Eclipse since Javelot scored in 1960 - although Trepan was disqualified after beating Wollow in 1976 - and will rely on this season's Prix Ganay and Harcourt victor, Valanour. The four-year- old, who will be bidding to give the Aga Khan his first win in Britain for nearly six years, was confirmed yesterday by his trainer, Alain de Royer-Dupre, a runner as long as the going remains good or better.

Eclipse Stakes (Sandown, Saturday) Coral: 5-2 Pentire, 9-2 Shaamit, 5- 1 Halling, 11-2 Charnwood Forest, 7-1 Bijou D'Inde, Singspiel & Valanour, 16-1 Definite Article, 25-1 Ela-Aristokrati & Beauchamp King.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Project Administrator

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn