Hawkbill looks set to lead a three-strong Godolphin bid for the G1 Coronation Cup, with Prize Money and Frontiersman also lining up in the 12-furlong contest at Epsom Downs, UK, on Friday, June 2.
The trio of four-year-old colts have all been in excellent form this year, with last season’s G1 Eclipse Stakes hero Hawkbill (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) making all for a convincing win in the G3 Al Rayyan Stakes over a mile and a half on soft ground at Newbury on May 20.
Prize Money (Saeed bin Suroor/Olivier Peslier) gained two 12-furlong victories at Meydan, UAE, including a neck success in the G2 Dubai City Of Gold Sponsored by Emirates SkyCargo, and finished fourth to another Godolphin runner Jack Hobbs in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic over the same course and distance on March 25.
Frontiersman (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle), a son of Dubawi out of the 2004 Oaks winner Ouija Board and a half-brother to the 2014 Derby victor Australia, steps up markedly in class following an easy success in a 12-furlong Newmarket handicap on May 7.
Charlie Appleby commented: “Hawkbill’s participation in the Coronation Cup will be reviewed on Friday. We have declared on good ground and he will take his chance if the going remains genuinely good, but we will take stock if it starts to quicken up.
“He won over a mile and a half last time and we feel that it is best trip this season. We ran him at Newbury to gain some confidence and he has come out of the race very well.
“The one thing he is good at is setting and maintaining a decent gallop. In more testing conditions, he is one of the few horses that can not only maintain a good pace but also quicken.
“We just want to make sure that the ground is safe enough for him to perform on.
“Frontiersman was declared to run over a mile and six furlongs in a Listed race at York last week (May 27) but had some swelling after giving himself a knock and we pulled him out f that race.
“He is fine now and you couldn’t fail to be impressed with him at Newmarket, when he won very well off top-weight.
“He has done well since and, as soon as we knew that he was going to miss York, this race was another option for him.
“It is a big step up from a handicap to a G1 race but Frontiersman is rated 109 and has an amazing pedigree. He is a typical son of Dubawi and looks to be on an upward curve.
“If he were to finish in the first three, it could point us down the route of something like the Hardwicke Stakes (G2, 1m 4f, June 24) at Royal Ascot.”
Saeed bin Suroor reported: “Prize Money ran some very good races out in Dubai, winning the Dubai City Of Gold.
“We took him to Chelmsford City for a piece of work last Saturday, which went well, and he is ready to start his European campaign.
“He looks in good condition and a mile and a half is a nice trip. He is a horse that we like and it is a case of so far, so good with him.”
A field of 10 for the Coronation Cup also features Highland Reel, a G1 winner in the UK, USA and Hong Kong, plus last season’s British Champions Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes scorer Journey.