Hawkbill lands Group 3 prize with impressive front-running display
Last year's Coral-Eclipse winner Hawkbill, trained by Charlie Appleby, proved stamina doubters wrong by impressively making all to win the Group 3 Aston Park Stakes under William Buick.
Setting a prominent pace from the outset, Buick kicked clear three and a half furlongs out and never saw another rival – coming home a cosy two-length winner from the Clive Cox-trained My Dream Boat.
Buick said: "Charlie [Appleby] was very positive about going on and making the running. The Ganay has done him the world of good, he's come on for that and stayed well."
"He likes to get his toe in and doesn't like jarry ground. He's back on track now – his first win since he won the Eclipse last year – and obviously he's run a lot of good races in between, but I would say he's opened up the mile and a half door to himself."
Not penalised for his Group 1 success at Sandown in July last year, the 3-1 favourite recorded his seventh victory in just 13 career starts and looks set to feature in all of the top class middle-distance races this season.
Appleby said: "He came forward for the Ganay and bought his A-game today. He's in everything but it's where the ground is. He's one of the few horses who can quicken in soft ground. If we're going to compete at the top level it needs to be with ease in the ground."
Hawkbill's victory was Godolphin's third race success in the last seven years after Claremont (2010) and Willing Foe (2013) romped to victory.
Adam Kirby, rider of My Dream Boat, picked up a two-day whip ban for his forceful ride on the runner-up, but due to the Group 1 exemption rule, it will not fall on Derby weekend – allowing Kirby to pick up a ride in the Epsom Classic.
Hawkbill was cut into 7-1 (from 16) for the Hardwicke Stakes (Paddy Power), 10-1 (from 16) for the Prince Of Wales Stakes (Betfair) and 10-1 (from 14) to repeat his Coral-Eclipse success.