The three-year-olds were all the rage heading in the Group One Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday, but it was Ulysses who upstaged them all as the favourite Cliffs of Moher was hobbled by his own stablemate.
The drama started early when Coolmore’s pacemaker Taj Mahal, ridden by Epsom Derby hero Padraig Beggy, didn’t leave enough room when coming across from his wide barrier, interfering with Decorated Knight who was then pushed on to Cliffs of Moher, forcing Ryan Moore to check severely, losing three lengths in the process.
So while that incident put the 7/4 favourite virtually out of play (and Beggy ended up with an eight-day suspension for careless riding), things were rolling along smoothly for second favourite, St James’ Palace Stakes winner Barney Roy, and Ulysses, who were both enjoying nice runs in midfield.
Those two then went toe-to-toe for the final furlong, the Michael Stoute-trained Ulysses beating out the Richard Hannon’s Godolphin challenger in a head-bobbing finish.
The result was a big one for jockey Jim Crowley, who was dumped from third favourite Eminent after coming fourth in the Epsom Derby, but he could only finish fifth on Saturday under the guidance of Silvestre de Sousa.
Despite being beaten a lip in the Eclipse Stakes, the Godolphin team still collected a Group One win on the weekend with Thunder Snow winning the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly.
Saeed Bin Suroor’s led from barrier to box with Christophe Soumillon in the saddle, beating the favourite Trais Fluors and Gold Luck in the five-horse field.
“We will keep the options open about his next target as he prefers some give in the ground,” Bin Suroor said. “He could go back up in trip at York [for the Group One Juddmonte Stakes] or we may keep him for the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.”