FOUR-YEAR-OLD EYECATCHERS - Hilal Al Cham proves too strong


FOUR-YEAR-OLD EYECATCHERS - Hilal Al Cham proves too strong

In the wake of his promising debut in July, Hilal Al Cham (Hilal Al Zaman) made his reappearance in the Wathba Stallions Cup - Prix Djouras Tu at Toulouse on March 14th.

Julien Augé wasted no time in making a beeline for the lead on the winner, and the Al Shaqab Racing runner was never headed. Maleha (Munjiz) was two and half lengths away in second, as the experienced Al Mahbooba (Madjani) was left to collect third.

A well regarded type who has been kept under wraps. The winning trainer Thomas Fourcy said: "He made a promising debut last year but he invariably proves a little intractable in the mornings, as he doesn’t settle, and makes too much use of himself. He wasn’t fully cranked up on his debut. However, he showed a modicum of talent and needed time to grow. I think a lot of him and, at the backend of last year, we decided to leave him alone. I’m also in a good position as Al Shaqab have confidence in me, and so we set our sights on keeping him under wraps with a view to a successful 4-year-old campaign. Julien Augé told me that the horse could have found another gear if necessary, but, even in that ground, he was clearly travelling too strongly for his rivals and was never going to be caught. My instructions to the jockey were that that horse needed to be respected. The horse needed to undergo a positive experience rather than being subjected to a hard race, which could have had an adverse effect. There weren’t many takers as regards setting the pace and, as the horse has a good cruising speed, I told Julien to make the running. He’s an experienced horseman who respected his mount. Down the backstretch, he attempted to take his mount in hand so as not to unsettle him. He’s a horse that I’ve a lot of time for, and one which will be aimed at the Group PA prizes. He combines cruising speed with stamina. He needs to learn how to settle. He doesn’t yet have the class of Amyr du Soleil (Amer) or the successful debutant Nalink (Amer), as the duo are more tractable propositions over 2,000m (10f). We’re going to restrict him to distances of around a mile for the time being.  There are some interesting races open to him, including a 1,600m (1m) race at Goodwood. There’s also a Newbury option. Conversely, he could be stepped up to 2,000m (10f) in Qatar during the winter."

A grandson of Al Zahrah. Hilal Al Cham is a son of Hilal Al Zaman (Mencour). The latter, owned by Mohammad Al Nujaifi, is based at the Haras du Mazet. The dam Ya Hala (Azadi) is a dual winner and Thomas Fourcy added: "She gave me very first winner as a trainer after proving successful at Gramat, when I was still in possession of my rider’s licence." She’s a half-sister of Al Antara (Akbar), the winner of the Grand Prix de Sa Majesté le Roi Mohammed VI (Gr3 PA) for the same Thomas Fourcy at Casablanca in 2015, and to the dual Doha winner Al Mouzdaher (General). The grandam Al Zahrah (Kesberoy) proved herself to be a talented performer in races which have since been upgraded to PA Group status.

She can fall back on second places in the Prix du Président des Émirats Arabes Unis at Deauville, and the French Arabian Breeder's Cup Classic at Toulouse. Successful in the Coupe du Sud-Ouest des Pur-Sang Arabes, she was twice placed in the Coupe d'Europe des Chevaux Arabes.

Hassan Mousli is well versed with the science of breeding horses. Hilal Al Cham was co-bred by Nada Mousalli, Faiz Al Elweet and Hassan Mousli. The latter said: "I effectively brought this horse and his dam into the world. He’s the first son of Hilal Al Zaman to be born as the result of being crossed with an Azadi (Darike) mare. We also stand this particular sire at our stud. Hilal Al Zama’s build and his particular muscular frame lends itself to speed, and this trait is something we readily associate with a daughter of Azadi such as Ya Hala, and to my broodmare band as whole. This influence for ‘speed’ is sometimes lacking in French pedigrees. On the other hand, the frequent stride pattern of Ya Hala is a trait common to all of the progeny of Azadi. This sire is also the uncle of Arwa (Nuits St Georges), the dam of the high class act Al Mourtajez (Dahess). So we are talking about a family whose stride pattern is in the high frequency range. My own personal view is that we can already step Hilal Al Cham up in trip, but Thomas doesn’t want to go down this route for the time being. In any case, Hilal Al Cham will be able to stay longer trips when he becomes more experienced and attains greater maturity."



4-year-olds and up - 1,400m - €14,000

1st        HILAL AL CHAM (57) (C4)

            (Hilal Al Zaman & Ya Hala, by Azadi)

            Owner: Al Shaqab Racing

Breeder: F. Al Elweet

            Trainer: T. Fourcy

Jockey: J. Augé

2nd       MALEHA (54) (F4)

            (Munjiz & Tell Arca, by Tidjani)

            Owner & Breeder: Royal Cavalry of Oman

            Trainer: P. Sogorb

Jockey: J. Grosjean



3rd       AL MAHBOOBA (55) (F4)

            (Madjani & Amaan, by Al Saoudi)

Owner: Sheikh H. Al Maktoum

Breeder: Shadwell France

            Trainer: F. Rohaut

Jockey: V. Seguy

Other runner(s) in finishing order: Mountasir, Gadeer de Carrère, Mysshwan de Piboul, Joskio, Shadad, Marmara Star & Vedette de Lagrimodi.

All ran(10).

(Turf) Very soft. 1'39"30. Distances: 2 1/2 - 2 1/2 - 1/4.