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Tuesday 11th June 2024

Derby Winner City Of Troy to Eclipse Rivals

City Of Troy is set to compete in the prestigious Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, City Of Troy impressed with a victory in the Derby at Epsom and, rather than keeping him at a mile and a half for the Irish Derby, owners Coolmore have opted to drop him down in trip for the Coral-Eclipse.

O'Brien hails him as the very best of his 10 Derby winners and, like machines with the highest payout percentage, describes him as "Galileo with more class."

This exciting three-year-old will take on older horses in the Eclipse, aiming to follow in the footsteps of the brilliant  Sea The Stars, who achieved this feat 15 years ago.

Just like his stablemate Auguste Rodin last year, he disappointed at Newmarket in the Qipco 2000 Guineas but O'Brien and the Ballydoyle team always had faith in their charge and he came good in the big one.

“We felt we’d never had a horse like him last year, but I left him too fresh for the Guineas and he exploded out of the stalls which sent his heart rate through the roof,” explained O’Brien.

“That was the one stone we never looked under and we’d never had to look under it before, we never expected that to happen. Before he could get his breath back, he was out and gone.

“It took us two to three weeks to get him back to the stage where we could try the stalls again, and when we did we had the Fitbit on him and his heart rate was way above 240, so we knew what happened in Newmarket.

“We had to give him time and the last day he went back in the stalls he was as calm as anything, but because he didn’t officially play up in the stalls at Newmarket, he couldn’t get a ticket to go in late today, so he had to go in the middle, so we just had to hope he stayed relaxed and he did.”

A statement on said: “Following discussions between the Coolmore partners and trainers Aidan O’Brien and Chad Brown, Los Angeles (Camelot) will take his place in the €1,250,000 Irish Derby field on June 30 at the Curragh, where he will bid to emulate his sire in winning Ireland’s premier Classic.

“European Champion Two-Year-Old and decisive Epsom Derby victor, City Of Troy (Justify) will drop back in trip for Sandown’s 10-furlong feature, the Eclipse Stakes, on the following Saturday, July 6.”

Going for the Coral-Eclipse is a bit of a gamble, and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby would appear to have been the easier option, but the aim is to make him the most compelling stallion possible.

The Justify colt would be highly desirable in the breeding sheds on both sides of the Atlantic if he could add top-level-success on dirt in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga to his already illustrious body of work. The US race is on Saturday 24 August, and would appear to give him enough time between races.

As far as the possible oppostion is concerned, Dancing Gemini looks likely to participate but the Camelot colt has to find over eight lengths on their Epsom form.

The William Haggas-trained Economics heads the challenge according to the current ante-post betting, but he needs to be supplemented at a cost of £37,500.

He won by the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York by six lengths but subsequent form hasn't worked out too well and it may have looked better than it was.

Chucking him into an all-aged Group One after a sabbatical doesn’t seem like something Haggas would do.

If the Eclipse seems too ambitious for only his fourth start, the York Stakes, over a course and distance to which he is clearly suited, would be a compelling option. 

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