07/02/2016 7:29PM

Hawkbill outperforms The Ghurka in Eclipse Stakes


A 3-year-old with an 11-pound break in the weights from his elders won the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes on Saturday at Sandown Racecourse in England – just not the one widely expected to win the race.

Hawkbill, supplemented into the Eclipse by Godolphin, got first run on heavily favored fellow 3-year-old The Ghurka and won the Eclipse by a half-length. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to 4-year-old Time Test, who performed admirably over soft ground far from his ideal going. My Dream Boat, upset winner of the Prince of Wales’s last out at Royal Ascot, could muster nothing close to a similar rally Saturday.

While The Ghurka was taking a tough beat in the Group 1 St. James’s Palace over one mile at Royal Ascot, Hawkbill was winning the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes over 10 furlongs in a performance that encouraged connections to supplement to the Eclipse. And that turned out to be a good bet as the American-bred son of Kitten’s Joy notched his first win at the Group 1 level while earning his sixth straight victory. An all-weather runner last year at 3, Hawkbill has made tremendous strides this season, and was very game turning away the winner of the French 2000 Guineas on Saturday.

The Ghurka was entered with a pacemaker, Bravery, who failed to come anywhere near the lead, and also managed to briefly get in the way of his much better fancied stablemate. The Ghurka made a run at Hawkbill and got nearly on even terms, but could not push past and gradually was losing ground again at the finish.