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Al Suhail puts it all together with scintillating G2 Al Fahidi Fort success


Al Suhail produced a sensational display as he lowered the seven-furlong course record at Meydan, UAE, when taking the G2 Al Fahidi Fort by four lengths on Friday, 6 January.

The son of Dubawi, who had captured Newmarket’s G2 Challenge Stakes over the same trip in 2021, broke on terms from his wide draw and was soon held up in second-last of the 15 runners by James Doyle.

Erzindjan kicked for home at the top of the straight and saw off the challenge of Nobel Truth to open up a useful lead a furlong and a half from home. Al Suhail meanwhile travelled ominously into the race and unleashed a blistering turn of foot to collar Erzindjan just inside the final furlong.

The Charlie Appleby-trained six-year-old readily streaked clear before stopping the clock in 1m 21.59s, eclipsing the previous mark set by Storm Damage in last season’s Ras Al Khor Sponsored By Emirates Airline.

Charlie Appleby said: “Al Suhail’s homework has been good. As we have seen before, he is a strong traveller who has an abundance of talent, although sometimes he has his own ideas about it.

“The plan from that draw [15] was always for James to ride him cold. They went a fair gallop on the front and then he has travelled into it supremely well and picked up nicely.

“I see no reason why he won’t be stepping up in trip for the G2 Zabeel Mile. He was not stopping at the line there and it is a trip that we have tried and tested him over before. The most important thing is that he is a confidence horse, so he will have gained a lot from that tonight.

Noble Truth is not the easiest to train and, as we saw at Newmarket and Ascot last year, he is a very free-going horse. He was never going to get an easy lead up there today and looked a bit punch-drunk at the end. I would imagine William will say that we did it the wrong way round unfortunately.”

James Doyle added: “We know what Al Suhail is capable of, as we have seen it plenty of times at home, although on the track if things do not go his way, it can become quite tricky for him.

“Today set up nicely, even with the terrible draw. They went a hot pace and that helped him relax. He moved into the race smoothly and showed what we see from him at home day in, day out.

“It is all about making his life as easy as he will allow. A red-hot pace definitely suits him and tracking the right horses into the race was a help. I had to forfeit a bit of ground there but everything in front of me fell into a hole and he loomed up nicely.

“He found it easy and really enjoyed it, which I think is what it is all about with him. He is another year older and a bit more travelled now, so hopefully he is starting to get the hang of it.”