07/04/2008 11:00PM

Mount Nelson wins squeaker at Sandown


Mount Nelson came with an undeniable late run to nip Phoenix Tower on the line in the $991,000 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park on Saturday. Powered home by jockey Johnny Murtagh, Mount Nelson gave his trainer, Aidan O'Brien, his 12th Group 1 triumph of the year.

The 5-2 favorite, Phoenix Tower, had appeared home free inside the furlong pole but couldn't withstand the 7-2 Mount Nelson's relentless rally and so had to settle for his third Group 1 second in a row, missing this time by a mere short head. Pipedreamer was a length further back in third, with Campanologist, the only 3-year-old in the field, fourth after having led briefly at the quarter pole. The winning time for the 1 1/4 miles on good to firm ground was 2:05.56.

The victory was the first for Mount Nelson, a 4-year-old son of Rock of Gibraltar, since he had earned his Group 1 stripes as a 2-year-old in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud on Oct. 29, 2006. Eleventh in his lone outing last year, October's Champion Stakes, he had been unplaced in three tries this season but had shown signs of life last time when he was just 1 1/4 lengths fifth to stablemate Haradasun in the one-mile Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. While his victory on Saturday was well deserved, this renewal of a race that has gone to Falbrav, Giant's Causeway, Daylami, and Pilsudski in the last 12 years looks very much like a partial Eclipse, as Mount Nelson himself was the only previous Group 1 winner in the race.

* At Haydock Park, Anna Pavlova (5-2) followed her third-place finish behind Promising Lead in the Pretty Polly Stakes just a week ago with a 3 1/4-length victory in the Group 2, 1 1/2-mile Lancashire Oaks. A Richard Fahey-trained daughter of Danehill Dancer, Anna Pavlova was the winner last fall of Longchamp's 1 9/16-mile Group 2 Prix de Royallieu and will be aimed next at the Yorkshire Oaks.