Falbrav lands Eclipse glory

Falbrav sprang a surprise to give Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani a superb victory in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown today.

Falbrav sprang a surprise to give Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani a superb victory in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown today.

Nayef was sent off the 6-4 favourite for the Group One contest but was being scrubbed along by Richard Hills from some way out, while Falbrav was cruising under Darryll Holland.

Falbrav (8-1) went for home two and a half furlongs out and, although Nayef gave valiant chase, it proved in vain.

Kaieteur ran a huge race to be third at 100-1.

Falbrav had been considered a shade unlucky when only fifth to Nayef in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, when he was ridden by Italian jockey Mirco Demuro.

But the Fairy King horse enjoyed a dream passage in today’s contest and Holland’s only problem appeared to be in stopping him going to the front too soon.

His acceleration was immediate when the jockey did press the button and he had three-quarters of a length to spare at the line.

Nayef pulled early on behind his pacesetter Izdiham, which did not help his cause, and he was the one who this time did not get the run of the race.

Falbrav was giving Holland a second win in the Eclipse following Compton Admiral in 1999, while it was a first winner for Cumani, who inherited the horse after he won the Japan Cup in November.

The Italian trainer told Channel 4 attheraces: “He’s a smashing horse. I was very lucky to get him after the Japan Cup and he’s never let me down.

“At Ascot, when he appeared not to have run a good race, it wasn’t really his fault.

“He got bumped after a furlong and that cost him his position and he never found his rhythm.

“Today he showed what he’s really capable of. He had a beautiful position from the start and got his rhythm going. He probably came a bit too soon because the gaps opened up for him.

“But he showed tremendous courage to take it up three out and go clear, and battle all the way up the hill in splendid isolation.”

Holland said: “I had a lovely position early. It was a very, very rough race. The midfield had a bad passage and a lot of the boys were complaining, but it just went perfectly for me.

“I had the rails position and I just had to wait. I got a nice spilt and it just went like clockwork really.

“Before the race I knew anything drawn above seven was going to have a rough passage because of the pacemaker.

“We went real quick early and kept that gallop right up until the furlong marker. My horse was just probably idling that last bit.”

Marcus Tregoning, trainer of Nayef, said: “I think we were a bit unlucky. It was a very rough race and just when we needed to get out, we couldn’t.

“The pacemaker got in the way a bit. It’s a shame, but these things happen.”

Hills was visibly upset when returning to unsaddle and said: “It was tough out there. I know you have to play the game in these races, but...

“It didn’t cost me the race, but it didn’t help.”

Brian Meehan was delighted with Kaieteur’s third.

“He has the breeding that is just right for a jolt at the Arlington Million now,” he said.

“And if he did well in that he could go on to the Breeders’ Cup meeting.”

Falbrav is a 5-1 chance with Coral for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot on July 26 behind 3-1 favourite Alamshar. Kris Kin and Nayef are both available at 9-2.

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