07/03/2002 11:00PM

Equerry a threat in Eclipse

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Hawk Wing, beaten but unbowed after a pair of second-place finishes behind stablemates Rock of Gibraltar in the 2000 Guineas and High Chaparral in the Epsom Derby, takes on his elders in the 1 1/4-mile Group 1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park on Saturday.

But Hawk Wing, trained by Aidan O'Brien, may have to settle for second-best again, as Godolphin is sending out the undefeated Equerry, who rates the choice in spite of the 11 pounds he must spot Hawk Wing on the British scale of weights.

Equerry, a son of St. Jovite, made his 4-year-old debut with a handy score in the Group 3 La Coupe at Longchamp on June 20. His last two wins were both at the Eclipse distance, and although he is stepping up in class, he has room for further improvement. Frankie Dettori will be aboard.

Hawk Wing is listed at 1-2 with the Eclipse sponsors Coral, so the value clearly lies with the 5-1 Equerry. No Excuse Needed, trained by Michael Stoute, comes off a victory in the Group 2 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, but he has failed in both his efforts beyond a mile. Indian Creek, five lengths second to Grandera in the 1 1/4-mile Prince of Wales's Stakes last time, has a better chance for third.