Tuesday 24 April 2018

O'Brien watching the weather for The Gurkha

The Gurkha
The Gurkha

The Gurkha heads a strong field for the Group One Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday.

Aidan O'Brien's colt trounced his opponents in the French 2000 Guineas before finding Galileo Gold too strong in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

O'Brien has trained five previous winners of the 10-furlong contest, with Giant's Causeway (2000), Hawk Wing (2002) and most recently So You Think (2011) among those on the roll of honour for the Ballydoyle maestro.

The Sandown spectacular traditionally provides the Classic generation with their first opportunity to take on the older brigade and O'Brien is hoping that his charge is up to the task.

He said: "He came out of Ascot very well, he looks like a horse that could go up to a mile and a quarter and have no problem coming back to a mile again.

"Hopefully the deluge won't come as we wouldn't run him on heavy ground - hopefully that won't happen. You're never sure (how they'll run against the older horses) but we've always liked him."

Clive Cox believes his Royal Ascot hero My Dream Boat has plenty going for him.

The former jump jockey has never made any secret of the regard in which he holds his progressive colt and having signed off last season with successive wins in France, he picked up where he left off with a comeback victory in April's Gordon Richards Stakes over the Eclipse course and distance.

He disappointed on his latest cross-Channel raid for the Prix d'Ispahan, but proved his top-level talent with a tremendous victory in the Prince of Wales's Stakes and Cox is anticipating another bold show in this weekend's feature event.

"We've won a Group One, we're heading to Sandown as a Group One winner and there's no better feeling, whether he gets due credit or not doesn't bother me," said the trainer.

"We're quite pleased there's going to be plenty of pace in the race because it's pretty obvious that suits us best with the way he finishes off his races.

"On the face of it everything is great, he's fresh and well and we're looking forward to it."

Press Association

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