a small but perfectly formed field is set to assemble for the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday, with six of the eight left in the race yesterday representing two camps.
Aidan O'Brien, having once again saddled the first three in his home Derby on Sunday, has made three possible escorts available for So You Think, namely Cape Blanco, Jan Vermeer and Alexander Pope. Sir Michael Stoute's Derby and Arc winner Workforce, meanwhile, has a possible pacemaker in Confront. Sri Putra, runner-up in another small field last year, and Snow Fairy are the other acceptors.
Snow Fairy, withdrawn from her intended seasonal debut at the Curragh over the weekend when the ground turned against her, has also been given a Group Two entry at Haydock on Saturday. Ed Dunlop, her trainer, is eager to get her started following a setback in the spring, as he will be seeking a midsummer peak from her next month in either the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, or the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.
"Nothing is definite with a horse who has gone to Ireland and come back in the space of 36 hours," Dunlop said. "She lost quite a bit of weight because of the journey, but is putting it back on rapidly. I have also entered her in the Lancashire Oaks, just in case something weird happens with the weather. We'll see. I think she'll run somewhere this weekend as long as I'm happy with her as [otherwise] we are going to get a bit lost with her."
Dunlop added that Native Khan, disappointing in the Irish Derby, had earned a long break. "He just didn't run his race for whatever reason," he said. "He looked lethargic in the paddock, and obviously didn't run anywhere near the same level as at Epsom. Maybe it was just one race too many. That was his fourth run of the season, and we're just going to put a line through it."
* Chris McGrath's Nap
Ubenkor (8.30 Southwell)
Has shaped nicely on both starts back on turf. Has quirks, but won by six lengths on only previous start under this rider.
* Next best
Penang Cinta (4.0 Brighton)
Course specialist, with five wins here. Has won off higher marks in the past, and penalised Achalas enters new territory in terms of both course and ratings.
* One to watch
Kalendar Girl (Willie Musson) shaped well while acquiring a modest mark in maidens and looked unlucky in her first handicap start at Warwick.
* Where's the money going
The sponsors have cut So You Think to evens from 5-4 for the Coral Eclipse Stakes after a £40,000 bet yesterday, and eased Workforce to 13-8 from 6-4.