Sir Michael Stoute has landed a record-equalling sixth win in a dramatic finish to the Eclipse Stakes with Ulysses nosing out Barney Roy at Sandown.
The win was also a significant one for jockey Jim Crowley who was replaced earlier in the week by Silvestre de Sousa on Eminent who could only manage fifth.
While much of the focus centred around the expected tussle between Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher and St James’s Palace Stakes winner Barney Roy, Ulysses was sent out an 8-1 chance.
Taj Mahal cut out the early pace in the 10-furlong (2000m) contest, his stablemate and 7-4 favourite Cliffs Of Moher stumbled after being tightened up on the rail, being forced to surrender a number of lengths in the process.
Having watched events unfold in front of him, Crowley steadily brought Ulysses around runners.
Sitting almost motionless aboard the Niarchos family-owned Ulysses approaching the final furlong, it looked a case of ‘how far’.
But Ulysses was joined by Barney Roy on the climb to the line and as the pair gave everything it was Ulysses who eventually prevailed by a nose.
“I felt from the furlong marker he was always holding him, but my angle was bad and I didn’t have any idea if he had won or not, so it was a relief. It was nerve wracking for a while,” Stoute said.
“He is a very consistent, game horse and he has only ever had one blip in his life and that was in the Derby when he got turned over twice. He has never run a bad race.
“Thank God the result went right. I am delighted for the Niarchos family because they are big supporters.”
The win was particularly satisfying for last season’s champion jockey Crowley.
“When you become champion jockey these are the races you should be and want to be winning,” he said.
“All credit to Sir Michael Stoute and the owners for giving me the go on him after Royal Ascot. To get the opportunity after how things have worked out has been fantastic.
“Things happen in life for a reason. You have to respect the decision and I don’t think I did too much wrong (on Eminent), but it has worked out in my favour today.
“It’s number one. I’ve had Group One winners at Ascot, but the Eclipse it’s one of the big ones you want to win.”
Ulysses wins the Coral Eclipse @Sandownpark!
A record sixth Eclipse win for Sir Michael Stoute! pic.twitter.com/5ecNPEncko
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) July 8, 2017