The Gurkha: impressive French Classic winner is heading to SandownPICTURE: ScoopDyga
O'Brien gives The Gurkha Eclipse go-ahead
THE GURKHA will be declared on Thursday morning for Saturday's Group 1 Coral-Eclipse with trainer Aidan O'Brien confirming his intention to run the French 2,000 Guineas winner and St James's Palace Stakes runner-up against his elders.
Already the general 11-10 favourite for the 1m2f contest, The Gurkha had the barrier of testing conditions potentially threatening a trip to Sandown but, with the ground drying out, O'Brien stated his intention to run.
The decision prompted Ladbrokes to cut The Gurkha to 10-11 (from 11-10) for victory, with other firms making him even money favourite.
He said: "The plan is to declare The Gurkha in the morning and to run him in the Eclipse as long as the ground continues to go the right way."
Second to Galileo Gold at Royal Ascot, The Gurkha looks set to lock horns with Prince of Wales's Stakes hero My Dream Boat and Brigadier Gerard Stakes victor Time Test, who missed Ascot due to soft ground.
The going at Sandown was described as "no slower" than good to soft on the round course on Wednesday, with clerk of the course Andrew Cooper adding: "I would think it would be on the slow side of good on Saturday, possibly good, good to soft in places."
The prospect of better ground for Time Test resulted in his price for Saturday's race being clipped to 4-1 (from 9-2) with sponsors Coral while My Dream Boat was eased to 100-30 (from 3) by Ladbrokes.
Hawkbill also came in for support with Paddy Power having been supplemented on Monday for the race. He is 6-1 (from 7) to give Godolphin a first win in the race since Refuse To Bend.