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Giants Causeway

The brilliant Giant's Causeway: first of Aidan O'Brien's five Eclipse winners

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

O'Brien all out in pursuit of Coral-Eclipse record

AIDAN O'BRIEN is moving heaven and earth to equal the record of six wins as trainer in the Coral-Eclipse on Saturday - and course officials are planning to do the same to ensure the going at Sandown is spot on for their most prestigious Flat race.

O'Brien announced on Wednesday that Royal Ascot hero Declaration Of War would become a formidable extra weapon alongside Derby sixth Mars for a race he has already won five times with Giant's Causeway, Hawk Wing, Oratorio, Mount Nelson and So You Think.

The tally leaves Ireland's champion trainer one behind the record of six wins for Alec Taylor jnr whose victories came courtesy of Bayardo (1909), Lemberg (1910, dead-heat), Buchan (1919, 1920), Craig an Eran (1921), Saltash (1923).

Sandown's clerk of the course Andrew Cooper is intending to water the course amid the prevailing drying conditions and on Wednesday he tweeted: "Having walked [the track] again at lunchtime today it is clear that we will need to water next 24 hrs (2-3mm) to ensure good to firm on Saturday."

The official going on Wednesday afternoon was published as good, good to firm in places against a weather forecast of increasingly warmer weather toward the weekend.

O'Brien's two likely runners are ranged against short-priced ante-post favourite Al Kazeem, whose price was nonetheless eased by Coral to 15-8 (from 6-4) after they had inserted Declaration Of War as 7-2 second favourite on news of his participation.

Paddy Power took the view that there was a chance that Declaration Of War may still miss out and offered the 'with a run' concession as they installed him as their 5-2 second favourite.

O'Brien said: "There is a strong possibility that Declaration Of War will run in the Eclipse. A final decision will be made early in the morning. We plan to run Mars in the race."

One O'Brien runner not taking part is Camelot, twice beaten by Al Kazeem this season after a three-year-old campaign that looked set for Triple Crown glory only to end in an agonising defeat in the St Leger.

"We've decided to give Camelot a little break," O'Brien said. "We're going to wait and see whether the spark he had in the first half of last season will come back."

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