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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Barney Roy carries Godolphin hopes in clash with Cliffs Of Mohar at Sandown

James Doyle has sung the horses praises and is confident of his chances on Saturday. 

James Doyle on Barney Roy before winning the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Matthew Childs / Reuters
James Doyle on Barney Roy before winning the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Matthew Childs / Reuters

Barney Roy will carry the hopes of Godolphin over the Aidan O’Brien-trained Investec Derby runner up, Cliffs Of Mohar, in a fascinating showdown in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday.

Barney Roy, the Richard Hannon-trained son of Excelebration, put his English 2000 Guineas disappointment behind him with victory over another O’Brien runner, Lancaster Bomber, in the St. James Palace Stakes at Ascot in his most recent start three weeks ago.

James Doyle, who rode Barney Roy in the past three races in his four career starts, is impressed by the long-striding colt’s chances in the race.

“I have been fortunate to ride some very good horses in my career, but none with the stride pattern of Barney Roy,” said Doyle in a guest column on the Godolphin website.

“His stride is huge, and on top of that, he is so powerful. I can tell you: it is exciting riding a young horse such as Barney Roy. He has only had four starts (and won three of them) and he has a very big future.

“His win in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot was outstanding in the circumstances. He did not jump away (from the stalls) all that great, but there was no doubting the way he galloped through the line.”

It will be the first time Barney Roy tackles more than a mile but Doyle is quietly confident his mount can handle the extra two furlongs.

“Anybody wondering whether or not he can run a strong mile and a quarter should look at that performance,” he said.

“Yes, he is still a bit fiery, but he is so inexperienced. He is bound to get better with more racing. As a ride, he is not push-button, he takes a bit of organising. He is a young horse, learning his trade.”

The Coral-Eclipse has drawn nine runners and spearheading the challenge is Cliffs Of Moher.

The Galileo colt is one of two runners for O'Brien along with possible pacemaker Taj Mahal.

Eminent is the other of note. The Frankel colt, trained by Martyn Meade and ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, finished sixth in the 2000 Guineas and fourth in the Derby, and prior to that, won both his starts.

David Simcock’s pair, Desert Encounter and Lightning Spear, Decorated Knight from Roger Charlton’s yard, the Michael Stoute-trained Ulysses and Salouen from Sylvester Kirk's yard complete the field.

Doyle said Sandown can be tricky to ride, with its tight turns and long home straight, which is all uphill.

“Again, it is a strong field, with the three-year-olds taking on their elders for the first time at the highest level,” he said.

“It is always interesting. Summing up, I feel the race will be perfect for Barney Roy, and I believe he can win, as long as he relaxes. It should be ideal for his long, powerful stride.”

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