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News stories which have appeared on the website are available free of charge but stories which have appeared in the newspaper are only available when you join Members' Club. *NOTE: The archive runs from January 1, 2006 to present

Hawkbill 360x220

Hawkbill has been supported into a general 7-1 for Sandown feature

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Eclipse test should suit Hawkbill - Appleby

HAWKBILL, supplemented for Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse at a cost of £30,000, is likely to get his optimum conditions as he tackles Group 1 company for the first time.

Godolphin's progressive three-year-old, who has won his last five starts including the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, has been supported into a general 7-1 for Sandown's flagship race after appearing in an 11-strong declaration on Monday.

"We're very happy with the way he has come out of Royal Ascot and the more racing experience he gets the more he’s maturing," said trainer Charlie Appleby on At The Races.

"In time stepping up in trip will see more improvement but he'll like conditions as he's proven on soft ground and is a forward going horse so the track will suit as well.

"We're taking on the older horses and high-class three-year-olds but Hawkbill won’t be out of place in the line-up."

Jockey Club Stakes winner Exosphere will miss the Eclipse, with connections opting to wait for Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket next week.

The ground at Sandown is set to be on the slow side but the track escaped the heavier rain in the south-east on Tuesday evening with the round course remaining good to soft on Wednesday morning.

'Improving picture' at Sandown

Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper said: "We had been told to expect 10-20mm of rain through the week with 5-10mm on Tuesday, but in the end we only got 3mm from 5pm Tuesday and it didn't really have a great impact after a drying day.

"It's been largely dry since last Friday and it is an improving picture, and on the round course it is no slower than good to soft and bits of it on the far side you would say were good in places and that would be the next step.

"I would think it would be on the slow side of good on Saturday, possibly good, good to soft in places."

 
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