ALTHOUGH weve already had four of the five 2018 Classics, and Royal Ascot is over for another year, for many now is the most interesting part of the British Flat season.
At Sandown tomorrow we get to compare the three-year-olds against the older generation for the first time in the historic Coral-Eclipse (2.10pm).
What makes it so intriguing is that the Classic generation get 10lbs from their elders, while three-year-old fillies are in recent of 13lbs.
This Group One 1m2f contest has produced many brilliant winners over the years and MASAR will be bidding to become the first Epsom Derby hero to follow up in the Eclipse since Golden Horn three years ago.
Charlie Applebys colt was a brilliant winner of the Craven Stakes at Newmarket in April before finishing a respectable third to Saxon Warrior in the 2000 Guineas.
However, it was his performance at Epsom last month which really set the pulse racing and he could well be the superstar that Godolphin have been craving for the past few years.
He was very good that day, although it could be argued that the form has been let down by the performance of Dee Ex Bee in the Irish Derby on Saturday.
I wouldnt be too worried about that, as the race at the Curragh was very odd and I expect the three-year-olds to dominate tomorrows event.
Masar is obviously the one they all have to beat, but ROARING LION might just be able to turn the tables back down to 10 furlongs.
John Gosdens son of Kittens Joy travelled like a dream at Epsom, only to tire in the closing stages, and he looked like the classic non-stayer.
This trip should prove absolutely ideal for him and the quick ground will be perfect as well.
There really shouldnt be much between them at the line, although one is 6/4 and the other 5/2 so Im happy to go with the bigger-priced contender.
Its hard to forget the dazzling turn of foot Roaring Lion produced when landing the Dante Stakes at York in May.
He looks like a 10-furlong specialist and his run at Epsom screamed Eclipse to me at the time.
Gosden is a brilliant trainer of middle-distance horses and I fancy this classy colt to give him his third Eclipse in the last seven years.
Aidan OBrien has put a fly in the ointment with the decision to run Saxon Warrior just seven days after finishing third in the Irish Derby.
He looked like a superstar when winning the 2000 Guineas with both Masar and Roaring Lion trailing in his wake.
All eyes were on a Triple Crown bid, but he just didnt perform at Epsom and youd have to say his effort at the Curragh was a little flat.
It may well be that this 1m2f trip turns out to be his optimum, although this race clearly wasnt the plan and Im happy to leave him out of calculations.
I was actually more interested in his stablemate HAPPILY anyway, as this daughter of Galileo has been a little unlucky this season.
She finished third in both the English and Irish 1000 Guineas, before flying late on to be beaten just half a length by Laurens in the French Oaks last time.
She gets a huge 13lbs from the older horses and looks the best each-way bet in the race at 8/1.
The older horses dont look up to much. Forest Ranger probably has the best chance, but this is a big step up on what he has achieved so far.
Richard Faheys inmate has won both of his Group Two starts this season, the Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket and then the Huxley Stakes at Chester.
Youd have to say it was a very poor renewal if he was good enough to win this.
Hawkbill, who landed this prize two years ago, is bidding to become just the sixth dual champion, but hes fairly inconsistent and his two efforts on British soil this term have been disappointing.
BILL ESDAILES CORAL ECLIPSE 1-2-3
- Roaring Lion