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Horse Racing

St Mark’s Basilica produces devastating performance to win the Coral-Eclipse for ‘nervous’ Aidan O’Brien

ST MARK’S Basilica answered Aidan O’Brien’s prayers with a devastating win in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

A procession of Ballydoyle big guns have travelled to the UK with tall reputations in recent months – only to leave with their tail between their legs.

St Mark’s Basilica was a hugely impressive winner of the Coral-Eclipse

But O’Brien’s pre-race nerves were quickly washed away as his star colt produced one of the performances of the season.

He was given a cool ride by Ryan Moore, who bided his time into the home straight as Mishriff pulled his way alongside the front-running Addeybb.

It looked for a few strides as though he would the trio would have a three-way scrap to the line as they fanned out across the track.

But the even-money favourite went through the gears like a finely-tuned machine and sprinted away to beat Addeybb by three and a half lengths.

O’Brien said: “I was a little nervous – he had a lot to lose coming here. 

“If he got beat it would have neutralised all the good work he had done up to now. 

“He was taking on two porper older horses today, they weren’t just middle of the road horses.

“If he was going to be exposed as not being as good as we hoped it was in this race – but he has proven his quality.

“He put the race to bed very quickly, horses that can quicken like that are quite rare.”

The winner could head to the Juddmonte International at York next month – where a rematch with eventual third Mishriff is on the cards.

Betfair slashed him into 6-4 from 3-1 for the York feature – and they also trimmed him into 8-1 from 12s for the Arc.

O’Brien added: “All options are open to him, but the Juddmonte and Irish Champion are the obvious races.

“Whether he goes up in trip or not, that will be up to the lads.”


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