x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Nelson lords it at the Eclipse

Mount Nelson won a thrilling finish to the Group 1 Coral Eclipse at Sandown, under a masterful ride from Johnny Murtagh.

Johnny Murtagh and Mount Nelson, centre, land The Coral-Eclipse Race at Sandown.
Johnny Murtagh and Mount Nelson, centre, land The Coral-Eclipse Race at Sandown.

SANDOWN // Mount Nelson won a thrilling finish to the Group 1 Coral Eclipse at Sandown yesterday, under a masterful ride from jockey Johnny Murtagh, pipping Phoenix Tower and the fast-finishing Pipedreamer into second and third respectively. It was an incredible 12th Group 1 victory this year for trainer Aidan O'Brien, who relied solely on the son of Rock Of Gibraltar in the 1m2f contest. This was also O'Brien's fourth win in the Eclipse from just seven runners, underlining the strength of bloodstock that lurks within Ballydoyle.

Murtagh underlined this fact in the winners' enclosure after the race. "We've got some marvellous horses and this is another one," said the beaming jockey. "I know people might be saying this isn't the strongest Group One, but try winning one," he added. Henry Cecil's Multidimensional set a searing pace from the off, with Godolphin's Campanologist, ridden by Frankie Dettori, sat behind with the Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed-owned Maraahel.

But Murtagh was content to hold up his charge in sixth, a position he held until they swept into the straight. Angling for a run three furlongs out, Murtagh steered Mount Nelson into the middle of the track, before delivering a stamina-laden challenge in the final two furlongs. Murtagh continued: "They went a nice pace and we got to the front, but he idled a bit so I'd say there would be a bit more to come from this horse."

Campanologist did not quite have the strength or stamina to land a blow, however, and stayed on for fourth on the rail under Dettori. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor seemed pleased with the run though. "He ran very well as he was the only three-year-old against older horses," the former policeman said. "We might give him a little break and bring him back in August. "A mile and a quarter or a mile and a half will be no problem."

After a dry night, the going was good to firm, firm in places yesterday morning, which prompted Suroor to scratch his other runner, Literato, from the contest. @Email:sports@thenational.ae