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Published: 16:30 | 2/7/16

Hawkbill wins Eclipse Stakes

Hawkbill, ridden by jockey William Buick. was the winner in flat racing's Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.

Buick, who starts a 30-day riding suspension on Sunday after an incident in France last month, led the Charlie Appleby-trained three-year-old to a half-length win over favourite The Gurkha.

The Gurkha, ridden by Ryan Moore, struggled in the step up to 10 furlongs, allowing Hawkbill, from Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin stable, to secure a sixth consecutive win.

Time Test finished third, a length and three-quarters further back.

Jockey Buick says "the future is bright" for Hawkbill.

"His demeanour has changed a lot this year - with every run he has grown up, mentally and physically. I'm a little bit speechless to be honest with you, it means a lot," he said.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien admitted that The Gurkha struggled with the extra distance, and hinted at a re-match over a mile with Galileo Gold in the Sussex Stakes on 27 July.

"We thought he might take another run on the way to Goodwood and he travelled plenty well, but maybe the last half-furlong was just too far for him," he said.

"He was going so well that we thought we might as well come here but it hasn't quite worked out, even though he ran very well. We always saw him as a Galileo with a lot of speed - a real miler.

"I think he could still go to Goodwood. The lads will talk about it. Our original thought after Ascot was to go there."

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