The Coral-Eclipse was the feature on Saturday, though the gloss was taken off the race somewhat due to ante-post favourite Masar’s late absence.
The Derby winner’s form was well represented by two of the other leading three-year-olds and they fought out an exciting finish, having too many guns for some older rivals with questions to answer; the form isn't any better than the average for the Eclipse and perhaps lacks depth, but there can't be a Sea The Stars or Golden Horn every year and the close match in terms of ability between the first two makes the prospect of another meeting between them all the more intriguing.
Roaring Lion has given his trainer John Gosden a third win in the Group 1 Coral Eclipse as the son of Kitten’s Joy confirms Derby form with Saxon Warrior pic.twitter.com/BChyRBdvzp— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) July 7, 2018
The stewards enquired into interference after the winner had led late on, but allowed the placings to remain as they were, the decision a correct one and one rightly deliberated over by the stewards for as long as they required. Ultimately, Roaring Lion (up 3 lb to 125) finally got the better of Saxon Warrior when it mattered, and there’s clearly little between them at their best. The International at York is likely to be next, and Roaring Lion should again give a good account, a rematch with the runner-up and possibly Masar one to savour.
Saxon Warrior (remains on 124), making a surprise return after just seven days off, couldn't quite land the spoils but he ran right up to his best, perhaps this trip suiting him slightly better than further, but also less excitable beforehand than had been the case at Epsom.
Cliffs of Moher (up 1 lb to 120) is gathering a decent collection of crumbs from the top table, running here to a similar level to his best of the season, though never looking likely to get involved after a lazy start, while Hawkbill (remains on 123), took another step forward, in a race he won in 2016. However he was put in his place readily enough and this may be as good as he is, in Britain at least, these days.
Elsewhere on the card, Judicial (remains on 116) produced the best timefigure performance of the weekend (115) when taking the Coral Charge. He is building a really solid profile this year, though was a shade fortunate as runner-up Muthmir (remains on 119) didn't get the breaks, the boot on the other foot from when the pair met at Haydock in the spring. Both are likely to have races like the Nunthorpe on the agenda, though they will need the very best sprinters below form if they’re to score at that level.
Other notable efforts include that of Desert Diamond, who improved by 8 lb (to 104p) when chasing home Awesometank (remains on 106) in the Coral Distaff, and Tigre du Terre (up 15 lb to 113) who landed a gamble in the Coral Challenge (handicap). Nearly Caught (remains on 115) didn’t have to match his winning effort of 2017 when wining the Coral Marathon for the second successive season.
Over at Haydock, Roseberry winner Crowned Eagle (up 4 lb to 114) produced one of the best timefigures of the weekend (112) when getting to within a neck of Rainbow Rebel (up 3 lb to 103) in the Old Newton Cup. Though it’s not bare form to be getting carried away with – six of the first seven home all starting from single-figure stalls – the first two were nicely clear and both are progressing well.
Mythmaker (stays on 110) won a muddling conditions race over six furlongs, while Horseplay (up 1 lb to 112) won an up-to-scratch renewal of the Lancashire Oaks. She was second to Group-1 performer Coronet in the Middleton Stakes at York on her previous start, and the placed pair had both won a Group 3 on their most recent starts, so the form look solid at first glance. Course specialist God Given (also up 1 lb to 112) was given a well-judged ride from the front, and was only beaten a short-head.
Meanwhile, in America, Aidan O’Brien landed the Belmont Oaks with Ribblesdale fourth Athena (up 7 lb to 112) but Mendelssohn (down 4 lb to 123) was again below par, this time when a well-held third in the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes. Hunting Horn (remains on 121) also finished third, in the Belmont Derby, and was well below his Hampton Court Stakes form despite being beaten only a length and three quarters.
Sunday’s action saw Xenobia (up 3 lb to 108) win the Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse. It was an up-to-standard renewal of this Group 3 event for fillies and mares, though the odds-on favourite Could It Be Love (remains on 111), who helped force the pace and went through matters like the best of them, was done for stamina late in the day; a drop to six furlongs could be on the cards for her.
At Deauville – new home of the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat – there was something of a surprise outcome with disappointing performances to varying degrees from Gustav Klimt (123) and the Poulains one-two Olmedo (117) and Hey Gaman (116).
Intellogent just gets the better of Cascadian to win the Group One Qatar Prix Jean Prat under Pierre-Charles Boudot, with the Aidan O'Brien-trained Gustav Klimt back in third.— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) July 8, 2018
Results ➡️ https://t.co/7iJOPsdIyZ pic.twitter.com/yz9tdd03am
Intellogent (up 3 lb to 119), back down in trip after going close in the Jockey Club, improved a bit more to win; he's yet to run a bad race and the mile division's looking quite open this year but may find life tougher next time.
Runner-up Cascadian (118 from 104) showed much improved form up in grade; he's one to be interested in, bred to stay further than a mile (by New Approach out of 9.5f UAE Oaks winner Falls of Lora) and is still unexposed. Gustav Klimt finished third – he might be worth a try at 1¼m at some stage, his limitations looking exposed at this trip.