TOP trainer David Menuisier has hit out at the 'stupid' line-up for Saturday's Coral-Eclipse.
Just seven runners remain in contention for the prestigious Group 1 at Sandown.
The 1m2f feature is worth a cool £600,000 – more than double last season's £250,000 purse when prize-money levels were severely impacted by the pandemic.
Frenchman Menuisier was not planning on running his stable star Wonderful Tonight in the race – and unless the ground comes up soft that is still the plan.
But he left her in at Monday's confirmation stage after seeing the field 'cut up', with 31 original entries whittled down to just seven.
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Among those still in line for a start are Mishriff and St Mark's Basilica, but other big contenders such as Lord North and Love were taken out.
And Menuisier reckons it's a 'sad state of affairs' when a valuable and historic race like the Eclipse attracts so few runners – especially when many in racing bemoan low prize-money levels.
He said: "It's 99.9% not the plan to run on Saturday.
"We were just considering if there was a drastic change of weather, absolute downpours, and there ended up being just two or three runners then perhaps we would consider it. But it's definitely not the plan.
"We saw there were only six others confirmed and then people complain about prize-money – I just find it stupid.
"Let's face it, without talking about mine, if you look at the six – half of them are obviously top-class animals, and half of them are probably below that level.
"I think it's a sad state of affairs really, I can't see why (the field is so small).
"The ground will be near enough good. I just find it sad there are only a handful of horses in such a big, historic race."
Ground conditions at Sandown ahead of the Coral-Eclipse meeting are currently a mix of Good and Soft.
Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper said: "We measured about 18mm of rain here on Sunday night – it didn't start until 7pm and eased off about midnight, so it was quite intense.
"It was in the forecast, but that was the higher end of what was suggested.
"That's left us with straightforward Flat-racing soft on the sprint track, while the round is a 50-50 mix of good to soft and soft ground.
"The forecast isn't entirely clear, particularly the rainfall volumes in the next 48 hours. It looks a drier window from Wednesday through to Friday and then maybe a return of showers at some point over the weekend.
"It's not a definite band of rain but, at the same time, some of those showers could be heavy.
"We're on the easy side for sure, but it's almost impossible to predict until Wednesday how we're going to shape up."
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