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Champions Series Dark Horses: Al Hilalee

27 Feb 2019

There should be plenty more to come from the Charlie Appleby-trained colt when he tackles middle distances.

William Buick and Charlie Appleby discuss the Deauville win of Al Hilalee. Photo:

Horse: Al Hilalee

Form: 11. Trainer: Charlie Appleby

Unbeaten colts such as Too Darn Hot, Quorto, Calyx and Ten Sovereigns finished at the top of the two-year-old tree last year.

The quartet stole the headlines and are all exciting for the months ahead but there will be plenty who ended the season under the radar seeking to puncture their reputations when the action gets back under way.

One of them will be the Charlie Appleby-trained Al Hilalee, who attracted little attention despite winning both his starts.

He is dismissed as a 50-1 chance by Unibet for the Investec Derby but the son of Dubawi is one to keep a close eye on over middle distances this year – not least because there is plenty of stamina on the dam’s side of his pedigree.

Al Hilalee was sent off at 7-1 for his debut in a 12-runner maiden over 7f at Newmarket in mid-July but he did not go unbacked and won in commanding style by more than three lengths.

It was probably not the deepest of fields but the first three pulled clear and Mount Tabora, the third home, at least ended the campaign winning a handicap off a mark of 87 in his native Ireland.

A month later Al Hilalee journeyed to Deauville for a Listed contest over a mile and followed up – chased home by four other British raiders.

He had little to spare after racing quite keenly but the next pair home subsequently won Listed races themselves before the year was out and the third, Great Scot, went on to be beaten little more than a length in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at Doncaster.

Al Hilalee is bred to come into his own when tackling farther. He is the first foal of Ambivalent, not beaten far in the 2012 Park Hill Stakes (over an extended 1m 6f) before winning the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes the following year.

She also finished third to Cirrus Des Aigles in the 2014 Coronation Cup, nine years after Dubawi filled the same placing in the Derby.

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