Hawkbill: International or Irish Champion could be next for Eclipse winner
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Stuart Riley 11:18AM 3 JUL 2016
CHARLIE APPLEBY believes Hawkbill will be even better when stepped up in trip, but for now he is happy to stick to 1m2f and nominated either the Juddmonte International or Qipco Irish Champion Stakes as the Coral-Eclipse winner’s potential next target.
Hawkbill started the season rated 98 but wins in the Listed Newmarket Stakes and the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot persuaded connections to stump up the £30,000 supplementary fee for Saturday’s Group 1, which he more than repaid – to the tune of £297,727.50.
That would more than cover the cost of supplementing for either of the two Group 1s Appleby pinpointed as potential targets for the three-year-old, provided he handles his Sandown exertions.
“First and foremost we’ll see how he comes out of the race as he had a nice race at Ascot but he had a battle again there yesterday,” said Appleby on Sunday. “We won’t rush him back, we’ll wait until he’s ready. He’s doing so well at a mile and a quarter that we could stay there and look at the Juddmonte International [August 17] or the Irish Champion [September 10].
“We feel a mile and a half is where we could hopefully eke out a bit more improvement, but as you saw yesterday he is more than capable of holding his own at a mile and a quarter at this time.”
On whether his new stable star needed the soft ground he has proved so effective on, he added: “It’s an ace up his sleeve that he can handle soft conditions but he’s a Kitten’s Joy colt and an extremely good mover. He’s an athlete, so I’d be confident a sounder surface should suit him better.”
On Hawkbill’s rapid improvement from lowly beginnings, he was ninth and third on his first two starts, Appleby said: “He’s taken himself to another level. In the preliminaries he was very calm and relaxed which is what we were hoping for, it’s what he’s shown us at home since Ascot. He’s shown maturity and taken that step forward again.
“He’s strengthened mentally more than physically and we were delighted with the way he came out of the race at Ascot. Last Saturday morning we gave him a spin and were very happy with what we saw, so that’s why we gave him the supplement.
“Where potentially in time he could make another step forward is by going up in trip. We’re confident he will get the mile and a half. He showed that at Ascot. They went a sensible gallop, set by our pacemaker, and he saw the trip out well on soft ground. He did it again at Sandown yesterday.”
Endless Time reaction
Appleby also won the Group 2 bet365 Lancashire Oaks with 11-4 favourite Endless Time and, speaking on At The Races, he added: “She delighted us yesterday. We went there confident she’d put up a big performance and I’m just glad that she did.
“She certainly appreciates soft ground but on her first start of the season heavy in places probably wouldn’t have suited her and they’ve gone steady, which wouldn’t have suited her in those conditions, but she’s ground it out well. James [Doyle] was very pleased with her and gave her a great ride and we’ll look towards the Yorkshire Oaks now.”
McDonald ‘valuable part of the team’
On riding arrangements over the next 30 days while William Buick is banned, Appleby said: “William’s given Hawkbill a fantastic ride and hopefully he can go and enjoy his holiday on the back of that.
“We have important times coming up with the July meeting and Goodwood and we’re in a very lucky position to have James Doyle as well as James McDonald – who is over [from Australia] for a stint this summer. He’s a valuable part of the team.”