Paddington outguns Emily Upjohn in Eclipse duel

Paddington saw off the tenacious challenge of Emily Upjohn in a thrilling renewal of the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old began the season in handicap company, but he had already successfully stepped up to win both the Irish Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes subsequently.

Upped in trip to 10 furlongs for the first time, Ryan Moore rode him as if there were no doubts about his stamina and so it proved.

His solid temperament allowed Moore to put him where he wanted in the race and having broken smartly, he found himself in front on leaving the stalls.

The field then raced in single file, with West Wind Blows and Jamie Spencer leading Paddington, Emily Upjohn and Dubai Honour.

Spencer tried to steal a march turning into the straight and took two lengths out of the others.

However, Moore breezed up on Paddington and went into the lead, although Emily Upjohn would not leave him alone.

With half a furlong to run it briefly appeared that the greater stamina of Emily Upjohn may prevail, but she could not quite get on terms with her younger rival, who was getting 7lb.

Paddington’s half-length verdict was O’Brien’s seventh triumph in the race, making him the most successful trainer in the contest’s history.

Despite Paddington being sent off the 8-11 favourite, O’Brien admitted he had his reservations before the race.

He said: “I always have doubts about everything really and I never expect anything to happen.

“There are so many different things that can happen. There were four horses in the race and any one of them could win.

“So, that’s the way we approach every race. We do the best we can with all the horses and have them as well as we can and communicate the best we can with each other.

“We accept the result, win lose or draw. That’s the way we approach every race.

“Obviously, I’m always worried and no horse wins until they have passed the winning post, but Ryan was very confident. I don’t think he went for his stick at all.”

O’Brien felt Emily Upjohn had proved a worthy adversary in defeat.

He said: “He (Paddington) just got there a little bit earlier than he (Moore) wanted and he just waited a bit. I just suppose his pace took him there and he didn’t break his rhythm and that was 100 per cent the right thing to do.

“When you are meeting a filly like that, she wasn’t going to lie down easily and obviously it would have been perfect for her, because she had a target to take her there.

“We knew how good she was and we wouldn’t underestimate her in any way.”

Paddington could now drop back to a mile again for the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on August 2.

O’Brien added: “The plan after Ascot was to go straight to Goodwood and just because he’d done so well and John (Magnier) was convinced he would get it (10 furlongs) on pedigree, and Ryan was very happy as well, so that’s why we decided to come here.

“I would imagine if everything was well, there’s a good chance he would end up going to Goodwood. He hit the gates quicker than ever and Ryan said he travelled like a dream and his travel just took him there.

“I’d say there is a very good chance, but we will wait seven to 10 days to see what the lads really want to do.”

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