The Gurkha can Eclipse Sandown rivals in feature race
David Metcalf | July 1, 2016
The Gurkha primed for Coral-Eclipse battle
Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has an excellent record in the Coral-Eclipse and The Gurkha can further enhance it with victory in this year’s renewal of the Group 1 showpiece at Sandown (15:45).
The Ballydoyle handler has won the 1m 2f contest on five occasions, courtesy of Giant’s Causeway (2000), Oratorio (2005), Hawk Wing (2002), Mount Nelson (2008), and So You Think (2011).
In The Gurkha, O’Brien has a lightly-raced and rapidly improving colt who put in a stunning performance when landing the French 2,000 Guineas at Deauville by 5 1/2 lengths.
After travelling strongly on the heels the leaders under a confident Ryan Moore, the three-year-old was driven to take up the running a furlong from home before stretching effortlessly clear.
Performance which oozed class
The way in which The Gurkha quickly put clear daylight between himself and his rivals could not have been more impressive – this really was a performance which oozed class.
The Gurkha backed that up with a solid second to Galileo Gold in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot after not getting the clearest of runs, having four lengths to make up with 150 yards to go and finishing well to go down by just 1 1/4 lengths at the line.
He was arguably and unlucky loser and, with Moore once again in the saddle, can gain compensation in this.
Time Test feared most
My Dream Boat has done nothing wrong this season and commands plenty of respect, judged on his win over Found in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, but ideally needs it testing to be seen to maximum effect.
With the ground drying out, that makes Time Test the main danger to The Gurkha.
The Roger Charlton trained four-year-old has always been held in the highest regard and progressed well last season when when winning three of his five starts.
Time Test returned to action with a neck success over Western Hymn in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes over course and distance, showing a smart turn of foot to get the job done in style.
Looking at that form, the son of Dubawi is in for a good season and looks sure to pick up a Group 1 at some point.
You’ll find more Sandown tips from Coral-Eclipse day on our dedicated page.
Coral’s top tip: The Gurkha rates a solid bet to provide trainer Aidan O’Brien a sixth winner of the Coral-Eclipse. Time Test can give him most to think about.