MARK JOHNSTON’S stable star Permian is on course to chase Group One honours in Saturday’s historic Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.
York’s Dante Stakes winner returned to winning ways at Royal Ascot last month after disappointing in the Epsom Derby.
First staged in 1886 to celebrate the legendary racehorse Eclipse, the 10-furlong test is the first chance that three-year-olds, like Permian, get the chance to prove their credentials against older horses.
The last Yorkshire-trained winner was Bill Elsey’s Henry The Seventh who prevailed in 1962 under jockey Edward Hide.
A final decision on Permian’s participation will have to be made by Thursday morning – the Middleham horse has already won six times this season.
Furthermore the horse was ridden to victory in Royal Ascot’s King Edward VII Stakes by William Buick.
However the Eclipse entries also include John Gosden’s 2015 Irish Derby winner Jack Hobbs who is regularly ridden by Buick, retained rider to Sheikh Mohammed.
The field is headed by Richard Hannon’s Barney Roy, victorious in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot over one mile, and Aidan O’Brien’s Epsom Derby runner up Cliffs Of Moher.
Meanwhile the Buick-ridden Zaman could be in line for a return to Ascot following his last-gasp success at Pontefract yesterday.
Having made a winning start to his career at York in May, Charlie Appleby’s colt was stepped up in class for the Coventry Stakes at last month’s Royal meeting but finished down the field.
He was the favourite to bounce back in West Yorkshire and fairly flew home in the hands of William Buick to get up and beat Unfortunately by a neck.
Appleby is considering Ascot’s Pat Eddery Stakes – formerly known as the Winkfield Stakes – as a possible next port of call.
“Things just didn’t pan out for him at Ascot. The race split and he was probably caught in the wrong group and detached himself, but I thought he made some nice late headway,” said the Newmarket handler.
“Going forward, I think he’ll appreciate stepping up to seven furlongs. Visually it looks like he wants to step up now. We could look at something like the Winkfield Stakes at Ascot at the end of the month”
Meanwhile Avon Breeze made a successful return to action in the Fillies’ Handicap.
Richard Whitaker’s mare was making a first appearance since last October in the six-furlong contest, having been covered by Equiano earlier in the year.
The Scarcroft trainer said: “I’d have been delighted if she’d finished third or fourth today, so for her to win was a pleasant surprise.
“We’ve got until the middle of August before we have to stop, so hopefully we’ll get another couple of runs in.
“There’s another race at Pontefract next week, but we’ll see how she comes out of it.”