Two of the best older horses around were turned away in impressive fashion by St Mark’s Basilica in the Group 1 1m2f Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, and that performance does suggest that the Siyouni colt is the best horse in Europe over 1m2f, although stablemate Love is an interesting potential alternative for that title.
It takes a top-notch three-year-old to win this first big clash of the generations and St Mark’s Basilica, the even-money favourite, crossed the line with the same three-and-a-half- length margin as Golden Horn, the subsequent Arc winner, in 2015.
“He had a lot to lose today by getting beat,” O’Brien said. “It was going to neutralise all the work he had done up to now but he had to step in [against older horses] somewhere. They weren’t two ordinary older horses. You’d often come here and meet Group One winners but not as strong as those fellas were. We’ve had horses that get into fights and brawl it out but he’s very happy to follow horses and quicken, and he puts races to bed very quickly. That’s what he did again today.”