Al Hilalee makes all in G2 Prix Hocquart
Three-year-old colt Al Hilalee bounced back to form with a brave all-the-way success in the G2 Prix Hocquart over a mile and a half at Chantilly, France, on Sunday, 16 June.
The Charlie Appleby-trained son of Dubawi, a Listed winner over a mile at Deauville on his only previous French appearance in August, gained his biggest success. He has been successful in three of his five races.
Al Hilalee was smartly into stride under James Doyle and soon opened up a length advantage over his four rivals.
He stayed on strongly to see off the challenge of Khagan (Andre Fabre/Mickael Barzalona) entering the final furlong and withheld the late thrust of Soft Light to prevail by a neck in 2m 29.10s on good to soft turf.
Khagan, who was bumped approaching the line by the runner-up, finished a further neck back in third as the first three home came home two lengths clear of Kasaman in fourth.
Charlie Appleby commented: “I was pleased with the performance of Al Hilalee. The step up in distance and ease in the ground have produced an improved effort.
“That will hopefully have done his confidence some good and we will look at returning to France for the G1 Grand Prix de Paris (1m 4f, Longchamp, Sunday, 14 July).
“He could potentially be a horse for the G1 St Leger (final British Classic, 1m 6f 110y, Doncaster, Saturday, 14 September) later in the season.”
Lisa-Jane Graffard of Godolphin said: “Khagan was perhaps slightly unlucky in the finish today although Mickael Barzalona didn’t feel it was an excuse because it happened late on. It wasn’t ideal, but Al Hilalee was very brave and dug deep.
“We will see how Khagan comes out of this race before making any plans.”