Time Test among 11 left in Eclipse contention

Time Test - Frankie Dettori wins

Time Test now looks a likely runner in Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse

PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos) 

TIME TEST looks set to take his place in Saturday’s Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown after trainer Roger Charlton on Monday supplemented a pacemaker for the four-year-old.

The son of Dubawi was one of 11 runners remaining in contention for Saturday’s Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown following the five-day confirmation stage on Monday.

Countermeasure has been added to the race by Charlton, who says he is eager to allow Time Test to take his place in the race, despite the likely rain-softened ground.

“I am keen to run if we can,” said Charlton. “If it is good to soft so be it. We have put a pacemaker in as well.

“There is nothing else for him to run in so the chances are he will turn up.”

Hawkbill also supplemented

Earlier on Monday, it was revealed that Hawkbill would be supplemented by Godolphin to line up in the ten-furlong contest. He can be backed at 8-1 to win on his first start in Group 1 company.

The progressive three-year-old, who has won his last five starts, including the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, has been supplemented at a cost of £30,000.

John Ferguson, racing manager for owners Godolphin, said: “Charlie [Appleby, trainer] is very happy with how Hawkbill has been training since Ascot. He is taking a step up, but we feel he deserves to take his chance.”

O’Brien keeps options open

Aidan O’Brien has kept his options open, leaving five runners in the race, spearheaded by St James’s Palace Stakes runner-up The Gurkha.

O’Brien could also be represented by Deauville, Cougar Mountain, Bravery and Long Island Sound.

The Gurkha has been heavily backed throughout the week and is now as short as the 6-4 favourite with race sponsors Coral.

My Dream Boat, the surprise winner of the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, is second favourite at 3-1, with Time Test, a winner at Sandown a month ago in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes, at 4-1.

Soft ground likely

The ground on the round course at Sandown was on Sunday described as soft, good to soft in places and there is the prospect of further rain to come this week.

Whilst Roger Charlton holds concerns over the soft ground for Time Test, testing conditions should not inconvenience Hawkbill, however, as the ground was officially soft when he produced the best effort of his career to date when winning at Royal Ascot.

Changes to the field sizes

The field size for two races run over 7f at Sandown on Friday and Saturday has been cut to 12 from 16 because of adjustments to the bend made in the wake of waterlogging last week.

The races affected are a two-year-old maiden and three-year-old handicap to ensure the Coral-Eclipse meeting takes place on the best possible surface.

“Because of the legacy of the waterlogging we had towards the end of last week and with a view to running the two days on the best ground possible, the two seven furlongs race will operate with a maximum field of 12 rather than 16,” said Andrew Cooper, clerk of the course. “We are going to have to operate on narrower bends than was the plan.”

Cooper said the weather had been relatively dry at Sandown over the weekend but is braced for more rain during the middle of the week.

“In total we are told by the Met Office to think in terms of 10-20mm of rain through the period, all of which would consolidate things as soft.”


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