HOPES are high that The Grey Gatsby – the reigning Yorkshire horse of the year – will do himself justice when he races Epsom Derby hero Golden Horn in tomorrow’s Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.
The task facing Kevin Ryan’s stable star, the unluckiest of losers at Royal Ascot, is even harder because he has to concede 11lb under weight-for-age allowances to the John Gosden’s Derby victor, who looks to be a champion of the highest order.
However The Grey Gatsby’s connections are relishing the challenge. “The Grey Gatsby has come out of Royal Ascot fantastically well – he was bucking and squealing the very next day,” said Ryan’s son and assistant trainer Adam.
“He had a nice breeze on Tuesday and is ready to go now – it’s just been a case of keeping him ticking over.
“He has his own idiosyncrasies, but the course at Sandown should not be a problem.
“He’s a very well balanced horse and he proved last time that he goes right-handed.
“He’s such a fluid mover that he’s at his best on good ground – soft ground blunts his turn of foot.
“It is going to be very hard work for him trying to give 11lbs to Golden Horn, who looked very special in the Dante and even better in the Derby, and it will probably take a career best effort to beat him.
“But our fella has been there and done that and we couldn’t be happier with him – he’s absolutely bouncing.
“He is still Ryan Moore’s ride but he’s not available so Jamie Spencer will ride him again. Jamie rode him a couple of times last year and gave him a great ride at Ascot – he did nothing wrong, he was just unlucky.”
Borderlescott, twice a winner of the Yorkshire horse of the year accolade after winning the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes in 2008 and 2009, has been retired.
The remarkable 13-year-old sprinter, trained at Wetherby by Robin and Rebecca Bastiman, initially stopped racing in October 2012 before returning to the fray and competing on a further 18 occasions.
The veteran’s final race was at Ayr last month when he was fifth of six runners.
He won 14 of his 85 starts, and accumulated nearly £800,000 in prize money.