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As we move into July, the major meetings of the flat racing season continue to come thick and fast. The next big race on the calendar is the Coral Eclipse. This is the feature race in the forthcoming Sandown Summer Festival, which takes place at the historic racecourse in Kent on 06 and 07 July.

Ladies Day is on the Friday, and if the summer weather continues, there are certain to be more of those fabulous hats on display. But for serious racing action, the eyes of the tipsters and bookmakers are fixed firmly on Saturday 7th, and the Coral Eclipse.

Masar is the one to beat

RB Equestrian

Trainer Charlie Appleby could not be happier with the form and fitness of Investec Derby winner Masar. He said the three year old “is in the best condition he can be in,” and will be seen as the one to beat. There are a huge choice of horse racing bookmakers these days, but whichever one you choose from https://www.onlinesportsbettingsites.uk/horse-racing/, you will see that they all share Appleby’s view, with some having Masar as short as even odds.

The historic win at Epsom – this was the first Derby winner ever from the Godolphin stable – is certainly part of the reason. However, those who ventured out early to watch Masar’s run out at Newmarket at 6AM on 30 June believe the horse is even stronger now than when he shocked the racing world to beat all comers as a 16/1 outsider last month.

Appleby certainly thought so. After watching his star performer on the gallops, he said: “I was very pleased with that. The idea was to work him in the same way with the same horses he had worked with before the Derby and I reckon he looked even better this time.”

Roaring Lion has other ideas

John Gosden’s Roaring Lion ran Masar close in the Derby, ultimately coming in third, and he was also out on Saturday morning, shortly after Masar. Gosden commented that Masar has beaten Roaring Lion three times now, and is a worthy favourite for the Coral Eclipse. However, he is satisfied with the gelding’s fitness, and feels that the shorter distance at Sandown will play in his favour, and an upset is well within his reach. Bookmakers are certainly not ruling out the possibility, and Roaring Lion is currently quoted at around 5/2.

Saxon Warrior out for revenge

Roaring Lion is not the only horse that has history with Masar. Saxon Warrior was the odds-on favourite to win the Derby last month, but was left in Masar’s wake. A further disappointing performance in the Irish Derby, when the Aidan O’Brien-trained horse could only manage third means he has now slipped to 12/1 with the bookmakers. However, that could be something of a knee jerk reaction, and at those odds, Saxon Warrior looks like a very tempting each way shot.

More about the festival

The Coral Eclipse might be the big talking point, but there will be two days of non-stop action during the course of the festival, and a total of 14 races. There is a whole host of dining options, from casual bites in the food court to fine dining in the Legends restaurant. The organisers are also well aware of what else is going on in the sporting world, and Esher Hall will be transformed into the Football Zone, with big screens and plenty of seating for those who want to keep up with the quarter final action in the World Cup. Advance tickets can be bought online via the Sandown racecourse – see you there!  

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