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City Of Troy hardens as Eclipse favourite after White Birch KO

City Of Troy hardens as Eclipse favourite after White Birch KO
City Of Troy hardens as Eclipse favourite after White Birch KO

City Of Troy is now the 2-5 favourite with the sponsor for Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse after leading rival White Birch was ruled out.

The Derby hero was already the 1-2 market leader on the back of his Epsom victory, but his odds were further trimmed after it was reported Tattersalls Gold Cup winner White Birch will not travel to Sandown, as connections were not entirely satisfied with the results of a blood test on Wednesday.

White Birch’s defection has left Roger Teal’s Dancing Gemini and the Clive Cox-trained Ghostwriter now joint second-favourites at 7-1.

“It’s obviously disappointing for all concerned that White Birch will not be lining up in Saturday’s big race, and he would have been the chief market rival to City Of Troy, but in his absence, the Derby winner is now 2-5 favourite to complete the big-race double,” said Coral’s David Stevens.

In White Birch’s absence, connections of Dancing Gemini are relishing the chance to take over the mantle of City Of Troy’s biggest danger, as they attempt to reverse Epsom form with the Derby victor.

The colt’s trainer has the utmost respect for the challenge Aidan O’Brien’s son of Justify presents, but is optimistic he can close the eight-and-a-quarter-length gap that separated Dancing Gemini and the winner on the Surrey Downs.

“It’s quite sad news for connections (of White Birch), maybe not so sad for us, but he will be a big loss to the race, that’s for sure,” said Teal on a media call arranged by the Jockey Club.

“City Of Troy is a very good horse and Aidan has been very confident and bullish about him. Even after the Guineas run, he knew that was an off day.

“We’ve got to respect him but we’ve got to roll our sleeves up and do what we do – and if we can get anywhere near him, then we would have run a blinder.

“We had a wide trip in the Derby and were further back than we wanted to be. Ryan (Moore) went down the inner and Dylan (Browne McMonagle) went on the outer, so City Of Troy gained many lengths on us there. If we are a lot closer to him, I can see him shortening the distance for sure.

“The horse is fit and well and we’ve just got to let the horse do what he can do.

“I think the whole team does a great job and we seem to find a good one each year or every other year. For a yard of our size, it is brilliant and we’ve been to some big occasions – and I don’t think we’ve ever disgraced ourselves.”

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