IT’S an Coral-Eclipse Stakes (3.35) for the ages. No doubt about that. The 10-furlong contest at Sandown is regularly an intriguing heat, with the intertwining of ages and countries often providing the first real sign of where everybody is at. This renewal does all that it says on the tin and more, with four top class older horses taking on two classic winners.

Since 2015, three-year-olds have taken four of the seven renewals (they were restricted from taking part in 2020 due to a restructure to the season given Covid restrictions). A 10lb concession is big and a truly top class three-year-old colt, like a St Mark’s Basilica or a Roaring Lion should take advantage of that.

Vadeni and Native Trail represent this year’s classic crop and it’s odds-on one of them will win. Indeed it would be no surprise to see them fight out the finish, like Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior did here in 2018. But they’ve been set a decent target through the collective ability of the four older horses, headed by Mishriff, who comes out top-rated here and surprisingly, is the only horse in the race with an Irish connection, with David Egan on his back.

Egan is having another big season, having earlier recorded another Royal Ascot winner on Eldar Eldarov, and if there is a horse that has defined the early stage of his career, it’s Mishriff. He won the inaugural running of the Saudi Cup on the John and Thady Gosden-trained horse and then took the Group 1 Sheema Classic the following month with an inspired performance in the saddle.

That put his name on a world stage, and while the five-year-old disappointed back in Saudi in January, his jockey is bullish we’ll see a much better version of him today.

Speaking to Jockey Club Racecourses this week, Egan said: “I’ve sat on him a number of times over the past couple of weeks leading into Saturday. He feels in good form and seems tuned up and ready to go.

“He’s done it before when people have possibly written him off and he’s bounced back better than ever on a number of occasions, so he’s an exciting horse in that sense, knowing that he’s done that previously. He’s the highest-rated horse in the race so on figures he’s certainly the one to beat.

“It’s a hard thing to do to give 10lbs away to improving three years olds at this time of year, but he’s got the form in the book.”

That’s fighting talk for a horse who was fifth choice in the betting yesterday evening but you love to hear it. Vadeni’s connections have been issuing some punchy headlines since his Prix du Jockey-Club win and they’ve put their money where their mouths are by supplementing the colt at a cost of £50,000.

That does seem a good investment given the prize money available today and more significantly, the added value he could create for himself as a potential stallion.

Remarkably given his long and highly successful history in racing, the Aga Khan has yet to win an Eclipse, coming closest with Kalanisi who was just a head away from Giant’s Causeway in 2000.

Leopardstown officials will be looking on in interest as the Irish Champion Stakes is said to be the colt’s ultimate target this season. His trainer Jean-Claude Rouget took that race with Almanzor in 2016.

Warren out to win again for in-form Ken Condon

SEVEN of Ken Condon’s last 10 runners have finished in the top three which includes a smooth win for Teresa Mendoza in a listed race at the Curragh last Saturday and a one-two at Tipperary on Wednesday evening.

The Curragh-based trainer has four declared for Naas today, most notably Warren Beach who arrives in search of a hat-trick of wins in what is easily the best race on the card, a seven-furlong conditions race (4.50) where he takes on Corporal Violette and Silken Ladder, also on a hat-trick.

“He’s won his last two races nicely,” Condon told The Irish Field yesterday. “He’s improved for the application of blinkers and hopefully he can give another good account of himself. The ground (yielding as of last night) will be fine for him, he’s quite versatile that way.

“With regards to the future, I think we’ll take it step by step, not overplace him and just see if he can keep delivering a performance and see if he can improve a little bit. Hopefully he can run well and we’ll see where we are after that.”

Good chance

Condon also has a good chance with Areille in a fillies’ handicap (3.43). The three-year-old filly won her penultimate start and ran well over this course and distance most recently.

“She won at Fairyhouse where she was tough and got there just in the end,” Condon said. “Then she followed up off 7lbs higher when finishing third at Naas and though she never looking like winning, it was a good solid run.

“On that evidence she looks like she’ll be competitive, she might not be handicapped to win but she looks like she’ll put up another good show. Yielding ground should be fine for her.”