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A Guide to the Sandown Summer Festival 2022

During the height of the British summer punters and horseracing lovers gather at Sandown Park Racecourse for its summer festival. This year the two-day event commences on Friday 1 July with the final day of racing taking place on Saturday 2 July.

Like at many of the largest horseracing events, there is always a special reason for the ladies to show off their favourite attire. Traditionally, at the Sandown Summer Festival the first day is Ladies Day and it features a high quality seven-race card. Day two also presents the punters with great betting opportunities with a further top notch seven races. Day two of the event is known as the Eclipse Day, with the Eclipse Stakes being the featured race of the festival and also the Sprint Stakes proving a very popular race in the flat calendar.

Sandown Park Racecourse

The racecourse is situated in the outer suburbs of London in Esher, Surrey. Sandown is steeped in history having hosted races for almost 150 years, since opening in 1875. Upon opening it was notable as the first course to have a member’s enclosure included in the design.

The all-purpose venue hosts around 25 days of horse racing each year with both flat and jump events taking place. The course itself is oval and run right-handed at a length of 1 mile and five furlongs, the final four furlongs being on an uphill gradient. There is also a separate 5-furlong diagonal track that also runs uphill all the way to the finishing line.

Eclipse Stakes Day 2 Sandown Summer Festival

The second day of the festival sees the featured event, the Group One Flat Eclipse. The race is run over one mile one furlong and 209 yards (2,002 metres) and it is the first chance for the up and coming thoroughbred three-year-old horses to race against the proven older horses with mares and fillies given a 3lb allowance. It is a race that has a lot to offer with the total prize pot in the region of £750,000 for 2022!

The Eclipse Stakes has a very rich history. It was first raced in 1886 and was won by a horse named Bendigo, the only ever six-year-old to win the race. The prize fund for the race was a staggering £10,000 donated by Leopold De Rothschild, which made it the richest race at that time. The race was named after a highly celebrated 18th century race horse that remained unbeaten over 18 races including 11 Kings Plates, which were usually run at a distance of approximately four miles. After his peak in 1769 and 1770 winning race after race, he was eventually retired and became a successful sire whose offspring included three Epsom Derby winners. Eclipse also has the Prix Eclipse race named after him, a group three French flat race in France and also the Eclipse Award which is an American thoroughbred annual horse racing award.

There has never yet been a horse to win the Eclipse Stakes on more than two occasions, however, there are five horses that have managed to win the race twice. The first horse to achieve this was Omre in 1892/1893, then Buchan in 1919/1920, Polyphontes in 1924/1925, Mtoto in 1987/1988 and finally Halling in 1995/1996. This year is unlikely to see any change to this famous list of horses as last year’s winner, St Marks Basilica has been retired for breeding purposes.

A name we often find associated with successful jockeys is Lester Piggott, who won the Eclipse Stakes on seven occasions. His first success came in 1951 on Mystery XI, winning again in 1955 on Darius, 1957 on Arctic Explorer, 1961 on St Paddy, 1966 on Pieces of Eight and eventually in 1977 on Artaius.

There are three trainers that have produced six winners of the Eclipse Stakes. There was Alec Taylor. Jr between 1909 and 1923 whose horses included the two-time winning Buchan. Sir Michael Stoute won his first Eclipse Stakes in 1993 with Opera House and his last with Ulysses most recently in 2017. The third trainer to complete six victories is Aidan O’Brien winning in 2000 with Giant’s Causeway and last year with St Mark’s Basilica. Can Sir Michael Stoute or Aidan O’Brien train another horse to win the Eclipse Stakes in 2022 and become the outright record holder of most trained winners?

There are also a couple of owners who have won six Eclipse Stakes apiece. Godolphin and Sue Magnier both had their last winners of the race in 2020 and 2021 respectively with Ghaiyyath and St Mark’s Basilica. Whether they will be entering runners for this year’s Eclipse Stakes remains to be seen, but the competition for the record number of wins provides an extra rivalry to keep an eye on during the Sandown Summer Festival.

Fun Facts and Things to Ponder for the 2022 Eclipse Stakes

The Eclipse Stakes is often a race where a horse and its trainer will target doing a double to place their names in the history books. The double in this case involves the Epsom Derby and the Eclipse Stakes and the most recent horses to achieve this were Sea The Stars in 2009 and Golden Horn in 2015. In fact, Sea The Stars broke the fastest racing time (2:03.40) for the Eclipse Stakes in 2009 and actually made a treble winning the 2000 Guineas, the first colt to do so since 1989, securing his place as an all-time great racehorse. In retrospect the slowest winning time since 1960 can be attached to the joint all time Eclipse Stakes winning trainer Aidan O’Brien. His horse Hawk Wing came home in a time of 2:13.34 in 2002.

Over the last 20 races there have been 14 British thoroughbred winners against 6 Irish thoroughbreds. Not only has Aidan O’Brien and Sir Michael Stoute had success as trainers, you may want to note that during the last 20 starts, John Gosden has trained 4 winners and Charlie Appleby 2 winners. Keeping on the theme of form, jockeys Frankie Dettori MBE and William Buick have both won the race three times in the last 20 starts with Ryan Moore winning twice.

There are also some interesting statistics regarding which racecourse a horse has ran at on the previous occasion before going on to win the Eclipse Stakes. A total of twelve winners of the last 20 Eclipse Stakes have ran at Ascot in their previous race against a total of four winners who prior raced at Epsom. Nineteen of the past 20 winners have been colts or geldings and one winner has been a filly, known as Enable who won in 2013. Of the last 20 winners the horse with the longest odds was Mukhadram at 14/1 in 2014.

If you are interested in the Eclipse Stakes don’t forget there are six other exciting races at Sandown 2 July 2022, including the famous Sprint Stakes. The Sprint Stakes is a group 3 race for three-year-olds and above and is run over 5 furlongs and 10 yards (1,015m).

Here at we want to promote responsible gambling. Betting on horses can be unpredictable and while the horses on the race cards have not yet been announced for the Sandown Summer Festival, you may consider paying attention to races leading up to the event such as the Coronation Cup, Epsom Derby and Prince of Wales Stakes. We urge that all betting is conducted in a sensible manner and that individuals gamble safely at all times. If you feel you may have a problem with gambling then visit for help and support.

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