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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Ulysses beats Godolphin's Barney Roy in photo finish to win Eclipse Stakes

Trainer Michael Stoute wins race at Sandown for a record-equaling sixth time.

Jim Crowley on board Ulysses (far side) wins ahead of James Doyle on board Barney Roy.
Jim Crowley on board Ulysses (far side) wins ahead of James Doyle on board Barney Roy.

Ulysses made the most of his experience as the only course-and-distance winner at Sandown by edging out Godolphin’s Barney Roy in a thrilling photo finish in the 217th running of the Eclipse Stakes.

The two finished well clear from the rest of the field over the mile and-a-quarter trip, with the Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old son of Galileo under champion jockey Jim Crowley edging out the Godolphin runner by a nose on Saturday.

Ulysses had won from Deauville and My Dream Boat in the Group 2 Gordon Richards Stakes in April and then ran a solid third in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The result provided Stoute a record-equaling sixth Eclipse win, a record that had stood for 94 years for Alec Taylor Jr, who saddled his winners between 1909 and 1923.

Aidan O’Brien’s Taj Mahal set the early pace before Decorated Knight under Frenchman Olivier Peslier took over approaching the furlong mark.

Crowley made his challenge on Ulysses almost at the same time to take over the running and was soon joined by Doyle on Barney Roy in the last 150 metres as the two went head-to-head to the finishing line.

Crowley who rode Ulysses at Royal Ascot said that experience had served them well.

“I was just delighted to get back on this horse after finishing third aboard him at Royal Ascot,” he said. “We learnt a little about each other that day and this was a fantastic performance.

“It was a little bit rough early on but we were away from that and he settled well, whereas he was a bit fresh with me at Ascot.

“I got a fantastic feeling off him at Ascot and possibly got there a little bit too soon there, so that was on my mind a little bit today.”

Stoute, whose last success in the race was 10 years ago with Notnowcato, said he was not confident of victory as he waited for the result.

“He’s run brilliantly. But I was worried at the finish,” he said. “I just felt he was holding on, holding on, but I was watching from a poor angle and I just didn't know.

“A lot of people congratulated me and said 'Well done, well done', but I said let's just hold on.

“He’s run well on plenty of occasions and when he was well beaten in the [2016] Derby he nearly got knocked over twice.”

Richard Hannon would also have been heartened by Barney Roy pushing the winner all the way in his first step up over the extended distance of 2,000 metres for the first time in five career starts. The three-year-old Godolphin colt's record now stands at three wins and two second-place finishes.