Hawk swoops for Newbury win
The Charlie Appleby-trained Hawkbill produced an impressive front-running display to land the Al Rayyan Stakes at Newbury.
Last year's Coral-Eclipse winner showed the benefit of his first start of the season at Saint-Cloud to win by two lengths from My Dream Boat, who stayed on best despite having been the first to come under serious pressure.
Midterm fared best of the Sir Michael Stoute pair – as the market suggested he would – but took time to pick up having moved well into the straight and could only just get the better of outsider To Be Wild in the battle for a remote third.
William Buick sent Hawkbill to the front early on and the pair were allowed to set their own fractions.
Across The Stars, who refused to settle in the hands of Frankie Dettori, pulled his way into second as they entered the home straight but as Buick wound up the pace, one by one his rivals began to flounder.
My Dream Boat passed every other horse over the closing three furlongs but never really looked like getting to Hawkbill, who had no problem whatsoever with the extra distance on just his second attempt at a mile and a half.
It was a welcome boost for Buick, who received a ban on Friday which will rule him out of the Investec Derby Festival in June.
Sky Bet cut the winner to 14/1 from 20s for the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.
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My Dream Boat's jockey Adam Kirby used his whip above the permitted level and was suspended two days (June 5-6).
Charlie Appleby, trainer of Hawkbill, said: "I was pleased with his run in the Ganay.
"In the paddock today, people asked me if I was concerned about the sweating – I said if he didn't sweat, then I'd be concerned.
Asked where the horse would go next, Appleby added: "Wherever the ground is. He's in everything from here on in.
"He's a better horse with that ease in the ground.
"When they came to him, he quickened – the rest of them plugged.
"If we're going to compete at the top level, it needs to be with ease in the ground."
Winning jockey William Buick said: "Charlie was very positive about going on and making the running.
"He came forward from that race in France – it's done him the world of good.
"He stays well, he likes to get his toe in and I was very happy with the performance.
"He's back on track now."
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