Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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Goldolphin’s representation in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday was boosted to three entries after news of the supplementary entry of Al Hilalee for £30,000.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Al Hilalee was unbeaten in two starts last term, running out an easy winner of a seven-furlong maiden at Newmarket on his debut and following up with a narrow win in a one mile Listed contest at Deauville.
The son of Dubawi has not raced since the Deauville victory on April 18. But his trackwork in Dubai in recent weeks has impressed connections who believe the colt deserves his place in the 2000 Guineas, where he is priced at 12-1 in the betting headed by Aidan O’Brien’s Ten Sovereigns (7-2).
“Al Hilalee took part in a racecourse gallop at Meydan nine days ago and we were very pleased with him,” Appleby said on Monday following news that Al Hilalee would join Godolphin’s two other QIPCO 2000 Guineas contenders – Mark Johnston’s Dark Vision, and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Royal Marine in Saturday’s Group 1 contest.
“I spoke with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and we decided that he would not be out of place in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas,” Appleby continued.
“He flew into England [on Sunday] and travelled well. He just had an easy canter this morning and, having benefitted from the winter sun, he looks very forward, in fact he looks in rude health.
“We have always thought of him as a Derby prospect and the plan has long been to run him at the Guineas Festival, so the decision to supplement was not a difficult one, now that we no longer have Quorto in the race, as the Guineas is one of the best Derby trials.
“He might lack the tactical speed needed to win a Guineas but I am confident that he will be doing his best work at the finish as he has a stout pedigree. We will learn more about him after Saturday – the race will help educate him.”
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