Past Winners » Ulysses


Three-year-olds occupy the first three places in the ante post market for the Eclipse, and all three are shorter than they should be in my book. All three are fashionable, but they are all priced up on potential.

Cliffs Of Moher has always been highly-regarded, and he has been all the rage all week, but he is short now, dropping back down in trip after finishing second in the Derby. Eminent has been beaten in both the Guineas and the Derby.

Barney Roy was impressive in winning the St James’s Palace Stakes, and he is the most reasonably-priced of the three in my book, but he is stepping up in trip from a mile to 10 furlongs and, while trainer Richard Hannon thinks that he will get it, he is not bred for it. He is by Excelebration and his pedigree says miler.

Any of the three could win, of course, but the value in my book is in going against them. Only three three-year-olds have won the Eclipse in the last decade, and two of them were Sea The Stars and Golden Horn. The former had won the Guineas and the Derby, the latter had won the Derby, and both went on to win the Irish Champion Stakes and the Arc.

I am backing Ulysses, I think that he is over-priced at 8/1. Sir Michael Stoute’s horse was always highly-regarded last year as a three-year-old, he was allowed take his chance in the Derby after he won his maiden by eight lengths. The Derby project didn’t really work out, but he bounced back from that to win the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood, and he ran well to finish fourth behind Highland Reel in the Breeders’ Cup Turf on his final run of last season.

He started off this season with a really impressive performance to win the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown in April, over Saturday’s course and distance. He only won by a length in the end, from Deauville, but he travelled like a good horse through the race. Held up out the back in a race that was run at a moderate pace and which therefore suited the prominent racers, he looked like the most likely winner from a long way out, and he left the impression that he had more in hand than the bare winning margin.

He could only finish third in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Ascot last time, but again he came from the rear with what looked like a race-winning move. He traded at 1.61 in-running when he moved up on the outside of Highland Reel, before that horse battled back on the far side, and Decorated Knight got back up to beat Ulysses by a short head for the runner-up spot.

It was still a big run from Ulysses on just his second run of the year. Decorated Knight was having his fifth run of the year. Sir Michael Stoute’s horse could progress again for that run. He is one of those four-year-old progressive middle distance horses with which his trainer excels.

Also, he will be back at Sandown on Saturday, back over the course and distance over which he put up one of the best performances of his life in winning the Gordon Richards Stakes. And as well as that, Jim Crowley was riding him for the first time at Ascot, he has been booked to ride him again on Saturday, and that is a positive. He should know the horse even better on Saturday.