Motivator has shortened to odds-on favourite for the Coral-Eclipse Stakes with the sponsors following today’s confirmation stage.
The brilliant Vodafone Derby winner, owned by the Royal Ascot Racing Club and trained by Michael Bell, is 5-6 from 5-4 after 10 horses stood their ground for the Group One showpiece over a mile and a quarter at Sandown on Saturday.
French Derby victor Shamardal, bidding to give Godolphin back-to-back victories following Refuse To Bend last year, is 2-1 second-best.
“The Coral-Eclipse has seen some great races over the years, but Motivator versus Shamardal promises to be one of the best”, said Coral spokesman Simon Clare.
“This is the 30th year that Coral has sponsored the Eclipse Stakes, a long and rewarding association of which we are extremely proud.”
Godolphin have also left in the five-year-old Grand Emporium, while Aidan O’Brien is also double-handed with Powerscourt and Oratorio.
Oratorio has been beaten by both market leaders in his last two starts - finishing 10th to Motivator at Epsom and third to Shamardal in the St James’s Palace Stakes at York two weeks ago.
As well as those two Irish entries, there is international interest in the shape of Diamond Green, trained in France by Andre Fabre, and Italian challenger Altieri.
Altieri won Italy’s top spring race for older horses, the Group One Premio Presidente della Repubblica At The Races, for the second successive year at the Capannelle in Rome last month.
The seven-year-old is trained by Vittorio Caruso, who saddled Misil to finish second to Opera House in the Eclipse 12 years ago.
Australian import Starcraft could represent Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani. The five-year-old New Zealand-bred entire ran a pleasing first race in Britain when third to Valixir in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot at York.
The field is completed by Saturday’s Windsor winner Hazyview, trained by Neville Callaghan, and Richard Hannon’s Hurricane Alan.
Coral-Eclipse Stakes, sponsors bet: 5-6 Motivator, 2-1 Shamardal, 7-1 Starcraft, 11-1 Oratorio, 16-1 Powerscourt, Diamond Green, 28-1 Altieri, 40-1 Hazyview, Hurricane Alan, 50-1 Grand Emporium.