Charlton: ‘Firm ground best in Eclipse for Test’

Time Test - Frankie Dettori wins

Charlton: “If it was good to firm or firm he would be at his best.”

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)  

ROGER CHARLTON is hoping the weather finally gives his stable star Time Test the chance to prove his Group 1 quality in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on July 2.

The soggy summer has thwarted the Beckhampton trainer’s plans to give the four-year-old the same campaign as his 2013 Eclipse winner Al Kazeem this year with soft ground ruling him out of last Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes after a similarly scuppered trip to Ireland for the Tattersalls Gold Cup last month.

“He would run on good ground but I know if it was good to firm or firm he would be at his best,” said Charlton after watching Time Test breeze solo under Steve Raymont on the Beckhampton all-weather gallop.

In using heart monitors and speed checks on the gallops Charlton feels Time Test is “spot on” for the race and matches up to Al Kazeem in all respects although they are different types.

The irony that the bigger Al Kazeem would have enjoyed the soft ground while having to overcome firmer ground in his Group 1 hat-trick climaxing in the Eclipse three years ago was not lost on Charlton.

Who takes the ride?

The other uncertainty is who will ride Time Test, with his Brigadier Gerard Stakes partner Ryan Moore likely to be claimed by Aidan O’Brien, who has earmarked the race for Dante runner-up Deauville from his 13 entries.

“I understand if Aidan runs something Ryan is likely to ride although Ryan would like to ride Time Test again,” Charlton said. “In that event Pat Smullen would likely ride as he has an agreement with the owner but nothing has to be decided until next week.”

Charlton added: “I thought he produced arguably a career-best performance in the Brigadier Gerard and didn’t get the clearest passage when needed. He looked very resilient up the hill and was always going to win.”

If the weather intervenes again Charlton has already mapped out an alternative programme, adding: “He is in all the big races – the Sussex, the King George, the Arc and obviously the Juddmonte International.

“He is a high-class mile and a quarter horse and the Eclipse would suit him but he has the speed to drop back to a mile for the Sussex.

“He could go further but I would prefer to stick at ten furlongs in the International – the race didn’t work out for him last year.”

Charlton said he would relish the chance to pit Time Test against Britain’s horse of the year Postponed in that York feature.

 

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