Hamada and Al Hilalee impress at July Festival


Charlie Appleby recorded a quick-fire double on day two of the July Festival at Newmarket, UK, on Friday, 13 July, with Hamada and Al Hilalee both gaining decisive victories. 

Four-year-old Hamada (William Buick) completed a hat-trick of wins this year when powering to a seven-length success in the 14-furlong handicap (2m 59.88s) and a trip to Australia later in the year could be on the cards for the son of Cape Cross

The trainer commented: “Hamada had a setback as a three-year-old and has done nothing but thrive from run to run this year. We felt that he had come forward since his win at York and were confident that this trip is his forte – I think he will get further as well.

“William got a lovely pitch round and Hamada picked up well. For a horse that stays a trip, he has a gear change as well, which is always an added advantage. He is not the biggest, but is a neat horse and I find that they can be a bit more versatile. 

“He is in the Ebor (heritage handicap, 1m 5f 188y, York, 25 August) and we will see what happens regarding the handicapper, but I think he could potentially be going on a trip down to Australia.

“We would start a campaign there with the Melbourne Cup in mind. He is by Cape Cross, and is very neat and nimble, so a sounder surface is definitely better for him.”

Two-year-old Dubawi colt Al Hilalee (James Doyle) made a striking debut in the 12-runner seven-furlong maiden as he overcame inexperience to beat another Godolphin runner, Al Mureib (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave), by three and a quarter lengths in 1m 26.00s. 

Charlie Appleby added: “Al Hilalee is out of a very good race mare (G1 winner Ambivalent), who had her own idiosyncrasies, and he has shown some today, but that experience will teach him plenty.  

“Once he was asked to quicken, he rolled around a bit so he is entitled to come on from the run and staying is going to be his forte. 

“We will get him home and see where we are, but I have it in the back of my mind that he could be a horse for something like the Racing Post Trophy (G1, 1m, Doncaster, 27 October). He has got a bright future.”