Matt Brocklebank provides a horse-by-horse guide to the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and feels there could well be a turn-up.
MUKHADRAM - Claimed Group Three and Group Two honours over this 10-furlong trip last season and showed he could cut it at the highest level with a gallant third in this event 12 months ago. His 2014 campaign started with promise when (well-held) second in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan but failed to build on that effort when only fourth to The Fugue in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes. A switch in tactics backfired slightly there and he could get a lot closer to John Gosden's mare if allowed to stride on in a prominent position.
TRADING LEATHER - Seems to have been totally disregarded by punters after a bitterly disappointing comeback run over a mile and a half in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket in May but the way he pulled for his head left the impression he needed the run to take the fizz out of him. The two who finished ahead of him have franked the form since, though, and dropping back to this distance, over which he was second in the top-class Juddmonte International at York last term, is a plus. Also worth noting his trainer has hit form in a big way in the past couple of weeks.
TULLIUS - Has progressed through the one-mile ranks over the past couple of seasons, never better than when winning Group Two here in April and finishing second to Olympic Glory in the Lockinge the following month. Ran to a similar level when fourth in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot but he's a much better horse with cut in the ground and looks set to struggle here having shaped like a non-stayer on his only previous try at the trip.
VERRAZANO - Top-notch dirt performer in American for Todd Pletcher and new connections no doubt keen to get a Group One turf victory onto his CV for stallion purposes. He came close to achieving just that when leaving his Lockinge form well behind to push Toronado to within three-quarters of a length in the Queen Anne last month and he could still be on the up in terms of fitness. Failed to figure in two previous 10-furlong attempts but scored four times over just a furlong shorter in the US and stayed on strongly at Ascot.
ZAMBUCCA - Formerly trained in South America and Dubai and has only been with current yard a month or so. He has been sent off at long odds in both UK starts, including when beating just one home in the Prince Of Wales's, and impossible to construct a case for him, despite being a Group Two winner in his younger days.
THE FUGUE - Always held in the highest regard and it isn't hard to argue she's not always had the rub of the green in her career - third in the Oaks and narrow second at last year's Breeders' Cup just two occasions where she should arguably have won. Ran no sort of race at Meydan back in March but returned to these shores with a bang at Royal Ascot last month. Should take all the beating with a repeat performance but she flopped here last year and any rain would not help her cause.
KINGSTON HILL - Could prove to be the pick of the three-year-old contingent having stepped up markedly on his 2000 Guineas eighth to finish second behind Australia in the Investec Derby. Interesting to see how he copes with dropping back in distance but the trip shouldn't be much of an issue unless the ground is quick, in which case he'd likely be kept back for another day anyway. Frankie Dettori comes in the for the ride and he must be taken very seriously.
NIGHT OF THUNDER - Shock 2000 Guineas winner who showed that to be no fluke with a creditable second behind Kingman in the St James' Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. No doubting he's a top three-year-old miler and there's enough in his pedigree to suggest his stamina will stretch this far but he doesn't represent a great deal of value in the market.
SOMEWHAT - Won twice at two including a Listed contest but form tailed off a bit after that and he hasn't shown enough in three outings this term to suggest he can play anything more than a minor role here. Likely to be among those setting the pace.
TRUE STORY - Talented performer who shot to prominence with a visually impressive success on his seasonal return in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket's Craven meeting. Got stuck in the mud at York when only third to The Grey Gatsby in the Dante the following month but not too many excuses when seventh in the Derby. Ten furlongs could prove to be his optimum trip and connections are hoping for fast ground, while it's interesting to see he now wears a visor for the first time as he's often on his toes and it may help him settle.
WAR COMMAND - Quality juvenile last season who numbered the Coventry Stakes among his victories. Didn't pick up when asked for an effort in the 2000 Guineas and he was comfortably held in last month's St James' Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, despite catching the eye with the way he finished. Lots to prove on the whole and tackling a new distance, too.
Conclusion: Supporters of The Fugue and True Story will be hoping Sandown avoids heavy rain as their claims with take a major dent, whereas Kingston Hill's chance will go through the roof if their is any 'soft' in the official description.
Verrazano looks sure to appreciate the step up in trip after a staying-on second in the Queen Anne but the real value lies in siding with TRADING LEATHER. He was far too keen to do himself justice on his seasonal return at Newmarket and could easily outrun his odds if rediscovering the form which saw him finish second to Novellist in the King George and fill the same place behind Declaration Of War in the Juddmonte International last season.