Hawkbill (William Buick) Charlie Appleby John Ferguson
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Paul Curtis 9:52AM 3 JUL 2016
RACING POST RATINGS VIEW
HAWKBILL maintained his unbeaten record this year to land a rather unsatisfactory soft-ground Coral-Eclipse on Saturday, taking his form to a new level with a Racing Post Rating of 123 for a game success over The Gurkha.
Still unbeaten over ten furlongs, Hawkbill is now up there with this year’s leading three-year-old after this defeat of the possibly unlucky St James’s Palace Stakes runner-up, with just Galileo Gold (124) and Harzand (124) rated above him at this stage of the season.
For a race with two pacemakers the Eclipse surprisingly lacked zip, and whether the form proves reliable remains to be seen with the proximity of the front-running fourth Countermeasure casting some doubt over the race.
Touched off in a Kempton handicap on his debut for Roger Charlton last month off a BHA rating of just 79, Countermeasure was twice beaten out of sight when pacemaking for New Bay for former trainer Andre Fabre last year, yet was only two and a quarter lengths behind new stablemate Time Test. You could add 20 to that on all known form.
Eclipse winners by RPR
|2011||So You Think||129|
|2009||Sea The Stars||135|
More positively, Hawkbill boasts a thoroughly progressive profile, while The Gurkha was having just his fifth start in the Coral-Eclipse and made his debut less than three months ago. It will be interesting to see how the Eclipse form stands up, with Time Test far from disgraced on unsuitably soft ground, running to 119 on Saturday against his best RPR of 124.
His successful reappearance in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes promised better still, and the weight-for-age burden will have reduced by 3lb for the Juddmonte International at York next month.