Hawkbill takes the Eclipse from subsequent Sussex winner The Gurkha
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Keith Melrose 12:00PM 3 AUG 2016
TRAINER Charlie Appleby gave warning to Hawkbill’s Juddmonte International Stakes rivals that his star colt is still improving after his success in the Coral-Eclipse last month.
Appleby said: “Hawkbill had a battle on his hands up the Sandown straight but he’s come out of it well and is getting mentally stronger with each run.”
The trainer added: “It was pleasing to see The Gurkha subsequently go and do the job [in the Qatar Sussex Stakes] at Goodwood. We didn’t totally discard the King George but, with the future in mind and going beyond the Juddmonte, we wanted to give Hawkbill a little bit more time. He’s our flagbearer this year.”
Hawkbill, who was among the 55 entires for the Qipco Champion Stakes, is on a run of six successive victories which includes the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He is a general 4-1 shot for the International on August 17, vying for second-favouritism with Time Test and US Army Ranger. Postponed, who missed the King George due to a last-minute setback, is the 11-4 favourite.
Appleby said of the race: “I’m sure it will be a good race and have a bearing on who we will see in the Qipco Champion Stakes on Champions Day.”